Friday, June 10, 2016

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
nor sit in company with scoffers.

Rather, the law of the LORD is his joy;

and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted near streams of water,
that yields its fruit in season;

Its leaves never wither;
whatever he does prospers.

But not so are the wicked, not so!
They are like chaff driven by the wind.
Therefore the wicked will not arise at the judgment,
nor will sinners in the assembly of the just.
Because the LORD knows the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.


One of the many Christian storytellers of modern times was a Jesuit priest from India by the name of Anthony de Mello. One of de Mello's many parables is about a young lady who was in a coma, slowly dying. As the woman lay on her sickbed, she had a sudden feeling that she had been taken up to heaven, and was standing before the judgment seat of God.

She could see nothing; only clouds of dark smoke. But then, out of the billowing smoke, came a sonorous voice: "Who are you?"

Not knowing what else to say, she turned to the answer she had used most often in life. "I'm the wife of the mayor," she replied.

"I did not ask you whose wife you are, but who you are."

"I'm the mother of four children," she continued.

Again came the answer: "I did not ask whose mother you are, but who you are."

"I'm a schoolteacher."

"I did not ask you your profession, but who you are."

And so it went. The same question repeated, over and over -- but no matter what the woman replied, her answer was unacceptable.

Finally, she thought to try another answer: "I'm a Christian," she said.

But that, too, was unacceptable: "I did not ask what your religion is, but who you are."

"I'm the one who went to church every week, and always helped the poor and needy."

"I did not ask you what you did, but who you are."

De Mello concludes his parable by observing that the woman evidently failed the examination, for she was sent back to earth. Soon after, she awakes from her coma, and resumes her life. But something is different. Something has changed about her. From that day forward, the woman resolves to discover who she is. And that, the storyteller concludes, makes all the difference.

So who are you -- really?

Strip away all those layers you have spent your life carefully building up -- all those labels, those titles, those definitions -- and what's left? What is the essential core of yourself that God sees?