Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 (NRSV)
Verse 1Let God rise up, let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him.
Verse 2As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God.
Verse 3But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy.
Verse 4Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the cloudshis name is the Lord be exultant before him.
Verse 5Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.
Verse 6God gives the desolate a home to live in; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious live in a parched land.
Verse 7O God, when you went out before your people, when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
Verse 8the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Verse 9Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad; you restored your heritage when it languished;
Verse 10your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
Verse 32Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; sing praises to the Lord, Selah
Verse 33O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens; listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Verse 34Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel; and whose power is in the skies.
Verse 35Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel; he gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God!
The majesty and power of God’s presence is revealed in the psalmist’s grand descriptions. Indeed, in God’s presence the earth quakes and the heavens pour down rain, as the song of the faithful is lifted up to God who “rides upon the clouds.” A mighty description, a tribute to our wondrous God! Yet, the true wonder of this word is the assertion that God’s holy habitation is among orphans and widows; God is the home of the desolate, the liberator of the prisoner, and the provider for the needy. The God of grandeur who rips open the skies is the very God revealed among the forgotten and forlorn. For God is present at the margins.
If we want to encounter God, then, we go where God has promised to be—the edgy places where margins have been manufactured by human systems of oppression and inequity. Here, God makes sanctuary by blurring boundaries, unmaking markers of marginalization, and giving people power and strength through the awesome presence of the Resurrected One.
O rider in the heavens: open us to your wonder above, among, and in us. O holy habitation of the needy, home us by your presence alive at the margins. Amen.