“Terror no more.”
That’s how Psalm 10 ends.
Three words that resonate so powerfully with the reality of so many
around the world
and this week speak into the heart of the Canadian experience.
Let’s be clear, terror is the daily reality of a significant portion of the human family.
The terror of armed violence.
The terror of religious persecution.
The terror of sexual violation.
The terror of racial genocide.
And while we’re at it:
The terror of abject poverty.
The terror of oppressive working conditions.
The terror of ecological devastation.
There’s a lot of terror going around,
and this week it struck home in Canada,
and we were “terrorized.”
“Terror no more.”
That’s how this psalm,
(which is really one acrostic (alphabetic) psalm that includes Psalm 9)
How could that be?
How could it be that there would be “terror no more”?
Only if there was justice for the oppressed,
if the meek really do start inheriting the earth,
and if God gets back on his throne
and starts handing out some real judgements.
Here’s the thing.
While we may not like this language of judgement,
the oppressed cannot afford the luxury of a world without it.
God’s judgement cuts through the deceit and names evil violence for what it is,
whether on Parliament Hill in the hands of a man bent on murder,
or on Parliament Hill in legislation that excludes the refugee,
despoils the earth, and favours the rich.
The psalmist deconstructs the spin and rhetoric of those who are powerful
to be the path of murder, oppression
and violence that it is.
The psalmist recognizes that discourse always shapes praxis,
that manipulative speech
always legitimates violent action.
And he says that all of this talk boils down to one arrogant proclamation:
“There is no God.”
Let there be no mistake,
when humans engage in violence against one another,
and violence against the earth,
they are always saying,
“There is no God,”
regardless of whether they evoke the name of “Allah,” “Jesus,” “God,” or any other kind of deity.
You cannot kill in the name of “Allah.”
That is blasphemy.
You cannot kill and say “God bless Canada.”
That too is blasphemy.
But you can pray that God will break the arm of the oppressor.
“Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoers;
seek out their wickedness until you find none.”
You can’t swing a sword or shoot a rifle with a broken arm.
And so the psalmist prays for radical disarmament – literally.
But notice what else he prays:
“seek out their wickedness until you find none.”
When will it be that we can say, with tears flowing, “terror no more”?
When the God of judgement can find no more wickedness.
Come soon, Lord Jesus.