Had something of a “moment” with Psalm 12 this morning.
Like almost everyone I talk to these days, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by the anxieties and circumstances of the current election cycle.
Atop the ticket stand impossible choices—deeply flawed candidates for the highest office in the land.
Long gone is the time when I could take a measure of pride in casting my vote. More often today, it’s a matter of holding my nose and saying a prayer. Rare indeed is the candidate with whom I am in complete—or even substantial—agreement.
It’s a toxic mix for my spirit, fomenting dis-ease at the very least…and occasionally triggering a reaction that borders on despair.
The latest WikiLeaks—revealing the hateful, intemperate attitudes of Hillary Clinton staffers toward Catholics—touched off a particularly somber and spiteful mood. I was, and am, aggrieved by the bigotry the emails displayed.
And it’s probably fair to say I was nursing that grudge a bit this morning when I opened my missalette and stumbled across the words of Psalm 12 in today’s assigned Morning Prayer:
‘Save me, O Lord, for the holy ones are no more;
the faithful have vanished from the human race.’
If not vanished, they’re certainly running for cover, I thought to myself. And then, more from the Psalm:
‘They babble vanities, one to another,
with cunning lips, with divided heart.
May the Lord destroy all cunning lips,
the tongue that utters boastful words.
Allowing the Psalmist’s words to settle into my heart, I noticed that I found a measure of comfort as much in their age…as in the truth they expressed. Apparently, it’s not at all unusual for the faithful to find themselves holding the short end of the ‘power’ stick.
It was enough of a reality 3,000 years ago to inspire the plaintive plea in Psalm 12. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the wicked seem to have the upper hand today.
And to insist on a political fix – a government I can believe in – well, that more or less amounts to naivete on my part. Perhaps even a form of idolatry.
Slowly but surely, I think I’m beginning to realize that it’s better to place my hopes and allegiance alongside those of the Psalmist:
It is You, O Lord, who will keep us safe,
And protect us forever from this generation.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.