Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You. – Psalm 33:20-22
Today I’m writing in response to a beautiful concept that came out of reading Psalm 33 together with the Saturday morning men’s study group. But I’m doing so with the help of some of the spectacular images our daughter Naomi posted from Miami (all images by Naomi Campbell). I think the connection between the two will be evident.
First, the psalm encourages God’s people to always think forward, and give the Spirit room to “Sing to the Lord a new song!” (v. 3) because “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord,” (v. 5)
The powerful impact of praise:
We talked about how this is not just something to know but a truth to be lived. We talked about the powerful impact of praise – not just thought but expressed – on everything from our personal disposition to the effectiveness of our lives.
Then, and this was wonderful to me, we looked at the grammar in verses 20 and 21. “Our soul…” “our heart…” Did you notice it? Our – plural; soul – singular. Our – plural; heart – singular.
There is this truth embedded in the construction of the words. It speaks to the corporate nature of the Children of Israel, our faith community, the church, even the small group meeting Saturday morning. As if we have in a sense one collective soul.
So much of North American Christianity speaks to individual experience, personal salvation, “my” relationship with God. Yet so much of the biblical story speaks to the fact that we are “a people.”
Participants in God’s work:
And if I am right in my understanding of salvation (My view is that salvation is “joining in with God’s initiatives of grace, mercy, love, light, hope, peace, promise, etc.” – and I have written about this extensively), then these initiatives, the work God is up to in this world, are addressed in a corporate fashion. We as a church, then, are participating in God’s work and salvation as an experience we share.
If ever we need to reinterpret some of this individualism and see ourselves more as a community then that time is now.
The children – gratuitous photographs displayed here – help me with this in two ways. First, how they embody the powerful truth that living positively changes everything. And then because I have always felt (and more so now we are grandparents) that this family has a “soul” – a core identity and spiritual core that is shared, and that lives in a way that is tangible and real.
Look at David and Beks, standing there in the wet South Florida street watching the dying embers of the sun disappear into the west. Their experience is almost ours, and the balance of peace tipped toward serenity.
We are not alone. We do not live in isolation. We are a people. “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10).
We are a people. Our soul waits for the Lord. – DEREK