December 8, 2016 - Dr. Dennis E. Smith

December 8, 2016 - Dr. Dennis E. Smith, Phillips Theological Seminary, Professor of New Testament Emeritus

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob . . . who made heaven and earth . . . who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry . . . Psalm 146:5a, 6a, 7a

Psalm 146 provides a meditation on God the creator, who looks upon the creation and pronounces it “good.” When the oppressed and persecuted are given justice, when the hungry are fed, when the lowly are lifted up, when strangers are made welcome, when those who lack family structure are cared for, when conflicts at all levels of society are resolved—these are signs that the goodness of God continues to dwell within God’s creation.

The New Testament carries forward the same values. They are present in the beatitudes of Jesus, in which the poor, the hungry, and the lowly are those who are special in God’s eyes and deserving of blessedness.

They are present in the Lord’s Prayer, in which the coming of the kingdom of God is characterized by the end of hunger (“daily bread”), the end of income inequality (“in the proportion that we forgive the debts of others so are we forgiven”), and the casting out of wickedness of all kinds (“deliver us from evil”). They are present in the “fruit of the spirit” in Paul, characterized by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity . . .” (Galatians 5:22-23).

To live in harmony with God’s creation is to be an agent of God’s peace.

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