Psalms 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
This season, to me, is the “Wow!” season. Let’s face it—when the sun shines most of the time, and when the temperature is above 40 degrees, those of us who have survived another Nebraska winter are pretty apt to say “Wow! At last!” We can get out and dig in the garden (or in my case, rake the leaves that were neglected in Fall), walk in the sun, enjoy life, put the top down on the convertible, open the window, clean things, become new, enjoy things. And it’s especially delightful to do so after Easter, after the reminder of our great Promise, and the joy we feel knowing of the Resurrection. He is alive, and so are we.
Our writers for today show the “Wow!” feeling too. In Acts, the angel releases the apostles. As used as they might have been to Jesus’ miracles, they can hardly find this miracle common. What, then, the reaction of the apostles, as well as the Sadducees, the guards, the priests?
“Wow!” (or the Hebrew or Aramaic equivalent).
Now look at the Psalmist. His is a cry of praise: “I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. / My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad. / O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!” Pretty glad, huh? Why? He has been delivered from fear and pain. What kind of Creator does this? Probably the kind who must make the Psalmist, from time to time, at the power of his Deliverer, say:
Lest my choice of words (“Wow!”) seem odd, let me give you some context and explanation. I grew up during the 60’s and the counterculture movement. Churches, along with other institutions, sought to become relevant, and the wonderful changes and expansions of the English language had a part in this reach for relevance. Hence the appearance in the 60’s of a New Testament (I still have a copy) titled God is For Real, Man! This era also saw the emergence of the Blue Jean Bible (I still have mine, too). These were all part of the ongoing process to bring Scripture to all people—and all cultures. Consider, then, “Wow” to be a 60’s leftover equivalent to “Alleluia,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and other shouts of wonder and joy.
Thus it’s no surprise that, when we finally come to today’s Gospel reading, which is perhaps the most well-known Gospel passage in recent Western history:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Our reaction is:
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