Whose world is it? The psalmist asserts that everything belongs to the Lord. This is a foreign concept and difficult for 21st century people to believe. We have been taught to think that we make the world by our own choosing—by our hard work, our good luck, and the choices we continue to make to better ourselves. We see injustice, poverty, and oppression in the world existing right alongside the extravagant lives of those who seem not to care about the differences that divide rich from poor. We hope to "get ours" before someone else snatches it from our hands. Yet, if God is the owner of everything as the psalm declares, our hoarding becomes not just folly but is the declaration of our falsehood—a lie we continue to tell ourselves in our thinking what we have is "ours."
It is important to let go—not of responsibility, but of false pursuits. Purity is not so much an absence of doing wrong as it is knowing and doing what is right. We can never achieve righteousness or glory for ourselves, but we know where it resides—in God who is our salvation. When we look to God, we see not only an indictment of our falsehood, but the purity to which God draws us. When we look to the cross upon which Jesus hangs, we see how much God loves this world that does not belong to us, but is claimed by God forever in the outstretched arms of Jesus.
To enter the city of God is not only to know that our falsehood must die with him on that cross, but to know that the same author of creation has set in motion the restoration of all things. To see the empty tomb is to catch a glimpse of the new creation that sends us back into this broken world to bring good news. The God of majesty, glory, and honor has opened the gate—and there is a place for all of us inside.
Gracious God, we so often claim for ourselves that which isn't ours. Yet you share the gifts of this world with us. Help us to use more graciously what you have provided, share it generously, and welcome others just as you share with us new life in Christ. Amen.
Psalm 24 (NRSV)
1 The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. (Selah)
7 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. (Selah)