As I was praying through my daily Psalms this morning the Spirit prompted me to pause and ponder on, “Redeem us because of Your faithful love you” (Psalm 44:26). This numinous call urged me to put aside the cares and concerns of the approaching day for a little while longer so that I might sit with the Word. The gracious Holy Spirit helped me lay everything down, even the Psalter in my hands, as I knelt at the foot of the cross meditating on God’s love.
Repeating this verse slowly, silently within my heart the spirit began unpacking some of the truths in the seven words. The faithfulness of God filled me as I recalled a few of the times he had walked with me in ‘the valley of the shadow of darkness’. How his love calls to me even as I wandered far from him. He redeemed me from the debt I owed, from the penalty of my sins.
Seeing that he had my attention this morning the spirit got around to the meat of our conversation. It seems he wanted to speak to me about ‘us’. Who is this us that God redeemed? Is it just me and mine? Those I love and care for? The ones in my circle of family and friends? Or is it a broader ‘us’?
Here in my country origin we can easily began to think the ‘us’ God is referring to is US, as in the U.S. Listening to the news pundits and Facebook wags we might get to believing that America is now God’s chosen nation. That we should somehow be exempt from the trials and tribulations of living in our ever shrinking planet.
But when we make ourselves into an ‘us’ that is chosen, blessed, exclusive that creates a ‘them’ — the different, the other, the not-chosen, the not-blessed. And anytime there is an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ there will be a conflict, often violent conflict.
If we’re not careful this us and them thinking can quickly lead us to proudly stand with the Pharisee praying, “God, I thank you that I’m not like other people…”.