Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord! – Psalm 104:35 (NRSVUE)
One of the things I love most about the psalms is how “right now, this minute” they feel. Who hasn’t wished for an oppressor to be punished or an enemy to receive their just desserts? The language of the psalms makes the categories sound clear: there are sinners, and there are wicked people, and dear God, please get rid of them! I could easily generate a list of the wrongdoers and haters I would like to see God handle.
It’s sobering to consider that more than one of my identities could make other people wish God would handle me! My status as an ordained woman, or a married lesbian, or a fat person might all be on their lists. On a canvassing phone call for a candidate for state representative, I heard the fiery anger of one voter who had for some reason been deemed “persuadable.” He used the word “pray” in response to a gently phrased question, “Would you consider voting for this candidate?” “I pray,” he said, “that no D___ like you get into office! You’re racist, hateful, and ignorant!” I listened, shaken, but unwilling to be the one to end the call, especially in anger. In the background, I heard his wife saying, “Hang up. Please stop. Please hang up the phone.”
Finally, he did. Praise the Lord.
So, psalmist, across time I feel you. And enemy of the psalmist, across time, I feel you, too. And O, my God, I wonder how this feels for you?
Holy One, may our wickedness end. May our sin burn out, right now, this minute. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Amen.