Hope and witness
Every Tuesday and Friday at the little office of Terce, we pray these verses from Psalm 11: “In the Lord have I taken refuge; how then can you say to me, ‘Fly away like a bird to the hilltop; For see how the wicked bend the bow and fit their arrows to the string, to shoot from ambush at the true of heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’”
When we see all around us the foundations of civil society being damaged and done-to, the foundations of the natural world being damaged and done-to, it is easy to wring our hands in helplessness and, with the interlocutor of the psalmist, say, “what can the righteous do?”
Faithful witness to Christ will not cocoon itself into a place of self-reflecting purity or righteousness, as to a fortified hilltop. But we are to be lovers of our wounded world at the same time as we are lovers of our specific places and communities—to be humbly rigorous in our spiritual observance so as to help heal the effects of our own sins, as well as those of the world.
And it matters where and to what we turn our attention, and on what we fix our hope. If it is ‘in the Lord that we take our refuge’, the Lord of all, who weighs the righteous as well as the wicked, beholding us with pity and not with blame, then we too will learn to behold with pity and love and not with blame, and more readily work with him in all things, as he works through us all, for the world’s healing and its good.