(May 16)

Keep me, O Lord, for I have hoped in you. I said unto the Lord: You are my Lord, for of my goods, you have no need (ὅτι τῶν ἀγαθῶν μου οὐ χρείαν ἔχεις, яко благих моих не требуеши).” (Ps 15/16: 1-2, Septuagint-translation)

God would not truly be Lord, if He had need of anyone or anything, – that is, if He were somehow insufficient, in and of Himself, and depended on the “goods” of others to keep Himself fulfilled. As the Source of Good, that is, as the Source of Life, He certainly has no “need,” as we say in the above-quoted Greek version of this Psalm, of “my goods” or goodness. But my “goodness” is not truly good, apart from Him, as the Hebrew text of this Psalm-verse reads: “apart from You my goodness is nothing.”

But God does “want” me to participate in true goodness, His life, even while He does not “need” me to do that. Because outside of it I am not truly alive, missing out on the bigger picture of the huge mosaic of the created world, of which I am meant to be a bright and shiny little piece, one of the tesserae, reflecting the light of the “life abundantly” that He wants to share with me. Outside of God my “goodness” remains obscured and I essentially “walk in the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps 22/23: 4), with merely-human will(s) and “goodnesses” as my unreliable compass. One can do good works as an atheist, as the atheists will remind us, but I find their smugness invariably boring. The life of us church-folk may be dysfunctional and messy, but one thing it is not is boring. No offense to atheists, because it’s not their fault; they just aren’t very colorful mosaic-pieces without God’s light. Nonetheless, I am free to step outside of God, if I wish, because He dignifies me with this choice. As God is free, and not bound by some kind of “need” for our “goods,” so has He created us free, to choose either Life or the absence of it, which is death.

Today I choose Life, not because I have to, but because I want to. I re-connect with God this morning, Who offers Himself to all of us freely, “for the life of the world.” Thank You, God, for dignifying us with Your freedom. May our many colors shine bright by Your light, this Thursday.