The 30-day cycle brought ’round Psalm 145 this morning.
I will ponder the glorious splendor of your majesty and all your marvelous works. (v. 5)
I would like to ponder God’s splendor through His beautiful works, like today’s sunrise over Sioux Falls, the mild days this part of the Midwest is enjoying, the Missouri River flowing past where I work or a family with which I celebrated a baptism yesterday.
But my morning reading from the Gospel of Matthew reminds me that the most splendid, majestic and marvelous work of God is something I would not choose to look at and which is painful to ponder.
And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. (27:31)
This is the ugly, splendid work on which the whole beautiful, dying creation hopes.
I find that shame is a powerful force that grows when I try to answer every accusation and criticism. It feeds on my efforts to counter unfair judgments, sweeping condemnations, litanies of past failures and all kinds of other negative stuff the world, the flesh and the devil launch.
But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (Matthew 27:12-14)
While Jesus carried any real shame of ours to the cross, in order to wipe it out, he was unashamed. He felt no need to answer the bogus charges and slanders against him.
He had the last word by not insisting on the last word.