My Psalm 89
Purpose: Covenant & Togetherness
It is one of the most beloved films ever made. “It’s a Wonderful Life” tells the story of a man depressed who considers ending his life. An angel appears and shows him how his life has value. I will confess that this film is not one of my favorites. It never has been. If you are a regular follower of this bog, you know that I am an optimist. You also know a recurring theme is that we all live together on this planet and so we should also all work together in that living. It seemed so simple to me as a child that I felt the theme of this film redundant.
The truth is that very few people realize the covenant we all share simply by occupying the same planet. The need for harmonious living is overlooked as a means for success – politically, emotionally, mentally, etc. In the early part of the twentieth century, the composer Igor Stravinsky challenged the way audiences viewed and understood the word harmonious. His use of the twelve tones of the musical scale caused an uproar and audience walked out of performances of his compositions before they reached the halfway mark. Today, however, he is considered one of the greatest if not the greatest composers of his time.
Over a year ago I was asked where my “spiritual place” was. The person asking held an annual trip to a specific locale in which they found solace and comfort. It was here, they stated, that they had found their spiritual place. Another spoke of their favorite vacation spot as being their spiritual place. My response was somewhat ill-received. I said my spiritual place was internal; I thought the goal was to make life a spiritual place.
I look back on that conversation and realize I could have explained myself more thoroughly perhaps but I still like my answer. I think it is important to find spirituality wherever we are. For me, that makes me live harmoniously in the situation. I don’t have to like it; I just have to stay within my belief system while living in and through whatever is going on around me.
Many religious people have a covenant with themselves and their preferred belief system. I hope that covenant provides harmonious living for all. That often is the sticking point. We tend to think we know what is best for us but at a sacrifice to others. Let’s use an example of immigrants. Every country has those moving in, either by choice or to escape a difficult situation or regime in their native land. Usually there are laws governing such moves. The goal is to harmoniously integrate these immigrants into the country’s socio-economic structure without detriments to the citizens already living there. While discrimination exists, today it has become focused on those illegally entering as immigrants, even though their need is just as great or perhaps even greater. We have to harmoniously find a solution that assists all while being true to humanitarian needs and existing laws.
How we live in covenant with our beliefs is evident in how we respect the beliefs of others. The person who lives by the saying “My way or the highway” is really being egotistical and arrogant. They may be perceived as self-confident but in truth, they are hiding their fear of being wrong and making a mistake by being autocratic.
The need to have the biggest and the best usually is accomplished by sacrificing the natural ecosystem. Habitats are destroyed to make way for larger housing developments because the houses themselves are no longer a standard 1800 square feet but 12,000 square feet. Water is used daily for automatic sprinkler systems, even in the midst of a thunderstorm. We claim that reducing pollution from factories means a loss of jobs and so end up having to choose between the economy or the environment. What we fail to see is that without a healthy environment, the workforce will die because man will not survive.
The concept of covenant is seen as Old Testament, a forgotten term for an out-of-date society. In truth, we all live in covenant every minute. Some of us do better at it than others. The mother who dutifully changed her baby’s diaper will one day need her own daily care. The wooded stream that depends on a healthy ecosystem to run clear must be respected and not turned into a backyard party locale.
None of us lives completely off the grid of life. We rely on each other and that does not lessen our stature as people to admit it. We may not be within touching distance but what we do touches each and every aspect of living on this planet every day. We walk in the footsteps of the past, leaving our own for the future. Every action paints the future.
My Psalm 89
Great Creator, you passed this world to us.
Your gift is life for all.
May I walk gently, doing good.
I want to leave vestiges of love in my wake.
I alone must account for my soul.
I cannot do it alone.
I need the world and it needs me.
Ever thing has value.
No breathe exists with a past and a future.
Nothing leaves without a trace.
The future is built on the past.
May the foundation of my life,
Built upon those of my ancestors of life and nature,
Be strong for my descendents.
Let me walk in harmony with nature and man.
Let me do all that I can.
Let me have purpose.