Thursday, May 10, 2018

Reflections - Always Be a Tree

This week one of the scripture readings is Psalm 1. It's pretty short so I will post it (NRSV version) here:

Psalm 1

The Two Ways

Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

This scripture has me remembering way back to summer camp when I was in fourth or fifth grade.  This was the passage my camp group had memorize. I remember it was the King James translation of the passage that we were learning and I was fixated on certain words. 
"Scoffers" was a new-to-me word and I thought it sounded like such a good insult.  As a noun, a scoffer is someone/thing who is the subject of mockery or derision.  I spent the rest of the summer calling my brother a scoffer. He was not thrilled.  

The other word I was fascinated with was "chaff." I didn't have a clue what it was and didn't bother to ask or look it up.  I thought it was one of the gross-sounding words like moist or chunk. I pictured something flaky and floating through the air like dandruff. I know - I was (and still am...) a total weirdo.  Chaff is actually the husks of grains and grasses that are separated during threshing. Maybe not as gross as dandruff - but floats just as easily. 

Anyhooo ... This passage begins this book of poetry - essentially a book of prayers. And we start out right away with what I think is the image of two roads and a description of who walks on each road. 

On one road is the "wicked" - or the sinners and scoffers. The passage pretty much says this road leads to nowhere.  

On the other road are the "righteous" and those walking on this road recognize that the road belongs to God and that God is watching over it. 

The psalmist also give us this image of a tree. Those who depend on God are like a tree with deep roots that can flourish even when things are not so great. 

So here's what I am thinking about this week: 
This passage talks about two kinds of people.  Those who love and follow God are considered “righteous,” and those who do not follow God’ and hurt other people are called “wicked.” 
So,  righteous people = trees and wicked people  = chaff.  

I am sure we are all a little of both. But when we have the chance to be more of a tree. We should be a tree. We should sink our roots in deep and stay connected to God.  These roots will help us to not float away when the winds stir up. 

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