my soul waits in silence;
from God comes my salvation.
God alone is my rock
and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall never be shaken.
Marking boundaries of time through the cycles of days, weeks, and the year. Sacrifices at appointed times mark points of transition that are seen as dangerous but manageable through ritual observance and sacrifice. Any crossing of a boundary, any point of transition from one state to another, is a point of special vigilance where chaos threatens to undo the order of the cosmos and of the community.
Look back at verses 1-7. What people were in the crowds? I suppose that I had always assumed that John was preaching to faithful Jews; then, I read this interesting insight into how Luke's gospel differs from the others:
One difference that might be overlooked seems rather to be significant. In 3:5-6, the quotation from Isaiah 40:3-5 is longer than in either Mark or Mathhew. The part found only in Luke, "all flesh shall see the salvation of God," reflects Luke's affirmation that God's holy, "chosen" people now includes Gentiles as well as Jews. This affirmation is mirrored in Luke's genealogy, which traces Jesus' ancestry back to Adam, and not only to the patriarch Abraham (Schaberg and Ringe, Women's Bible Commentary).Psalm 62:1-12
"For God alone my soul waits," the psalmist says. [Off on tangent--the word translated as "my soul" carries the meaning of the first person pronoun.] The psalmist expands on the reason for waiting only for God: God protects me. God delivers me.
And we need this refuge, the psalmist reminds us, because nothing else is an adequate substitute. We can't count on important or unimportant people. Moreover (I'm thinking about coining a new word, lessover), extortion and robbery won't save us nor will being rich keep us secure.
For those of us who do not ascribe to the doctrine of works-righteousness, we may be discomfited by verse 12, "The Lord repays everybody according to their work."
Prayer for Today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.