It’s in Our DNA
The Lord their God, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. – Psalm 146:7 (NRSV)
Psalm 146 should be required reading for every political candidate running on the “I’m a Christian, so vote for me” platform. The psalm identifies who God is and what God does. In so doing, it defines what it means to be Christian.
The psalm warns against putting “your trust in princes” and urges the listener to depend on the God of Jacob, who made heaven and earth. Then it affirms that God is not some distant deity, but one who cares intimately for the people of this earth, especially the poor and vulnerable. God is the One:
“who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
God upholds the orphan and the widow” (146:7-9).
What’s remarkable about this call to justice and compassion is that it comes from the psalms – not the prophets, not the teachings of Jesus. In the midst of songs of comfort and praise is this call to care for the poor, feed the hungry, uphold the vulnerable, and advocate for justice. It’s in the DNA of our faith.
Whether or not we’re running for office, it needs to be in the DNA of any of us who claims the name “Christian.”
Thank you, God, for this psalm’s reminder of who you are and what you do – and what we are to be and do.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Parts 1 and 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.