A jolly praise Psalm about God becoming king of all nations.
It starts with clapping: an international language, all beings praising.
It talks about God first choosing the Israelites, giving a special inheritance to the pride of Jacob.
The covenant with Abraham was to be a father to all nations. His grandson Jacob was the father of the 12 tribes, Israel’s is a story within the larger promise.
Then in this quick praise filled version of the larger story God ascends to his throne as king… Like Jesus actually did… Amid the shouts of joy of all nations, and trumpets. He reigns. All people gather. They praise, and praise some more.
It is the story of the Messiah, and our gentile ears should tingle (while we are clapping, shouting and praising) because he is the revelation of God to all of us.
I’ve been thinking about universalism in my old age, whether it’s possible everyone is saved. I don’t think that is probably true, but I feel less hard on people who do. I don’t think it makes a heap of practical difference to the life you lead or the message you preach.
It’s just a an awareness of this feeling of stories within stories, smaller blessings within larger ones. God is always managing our revelation.
Like the layers of creation stories, from being made in God’s image to the dishonest temptation to be like God by eating of the tree of Knowledge. What does that mean? If someone is an image of God but out of the garden, do you address them as being God’s? I face this problem of address regularly at work.
I’m contemplating that many more or many less people may be believers, or saved, than I would have thought. Which makes sense. I mean, how on earth would that be something I would know?
But you grow up thinking you do. You know, all Anglicans are in. Well, the evangelicals, the ones we know. Other protestants, good to go. I’m not intolerant.. as long as they believe something ( looking at you Uniting). Catholics pentecostals? Depends on the moment… Is this a conversation about theology or demographics?
For example, Abraham goes back 4000 years, but Aboriginals have lived here most likely 60000 years. What did they know of God those 56000 years? That’s a very lot of years. I’m totally with my brothers and sisters, when Captain Cook arrived, God was already here.
But equally, reading about the ‘chosen’ people in the old testament this past few years, the majority never seemed to have got it. Many spent a lot of time worshipping other Gods, or just being blatantly nominal Israelites who did religious duties, enjoyed the feasts, but behaved with total self interest, spiritually hollow. True believers always seems to have been a tiny subset.
We think the church is in decline, Australia doesn’t identify nearly as Christian as it did a generation ago. But I don’t think God is failing, perhaps nominalism is failing.
We meet each week in our sandstone cave in glebe point road, 70 of us in a population of 1000s. I don’t think God’s mission is a failure, I do what I feel led and taught to. I trust and obey.
St Paul’s image of us seeing through a glass darkly frees me from overthinking this. It’s an awareness that, yes we still don’t have the full story, but I have my story, and God is very happy to run with that.
I’m aware of my failings and challenges. I spend a lot of my time either boosting the salvation army or my beloved local church, or praying for and sharing life’s ups and downs with my family.
I share in this international vision of praise of a mighty God of love and justice, everyone’s King. But I don’t really have a clue how it literally plays out on that level, just an evolving sense of how it plays out in my little patch.