Monday, May 16, 2005

Don't STAND For It

podcast version

ghurtaH ghaH the loD 'Iv ta'be' ... Qam Daq the way vo' yemwI'pu', ghobe' ba' Daq the seat vo' scoffers;

Blessed is the man who doesn't ...stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers; Psalm 1:1b


Ever heard this old joke? "Teacher, should I get in trouble for something I didn't do?" "No, of course not." "Good. I didn't do my homework."

Nice try, but I don't think any real teacher would fall for it. And, it is true - we can get in trouble, not only for what we DO but for what we fail to do.

Psalm 1 shows us what it takes to be a person who is blessed. The author starts by telling us an action to avoid: "following evil advice." But he continues by warning us away from, well something that sounds like "doing nothing." Just being stuck amongst "the wrong crowd." Not DOing anything in particular - just hanging out.

Don't Qam (stand) among sinners, the psalmist says. Why not? Didn't Jesus eat and drink with sinners? The problem isn't meeting or moving among them, the problem is staying put. Yes - Jesus associates with sinners (and don't forget - that means you and me) because, as he says: the puqloD vo' loD ghoSta' Daq nej je Daq toD vetlh nuq ghaHta' lost. ("the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10).

In Psalm 1, the warning is getting used to the scoffer - accepting sin as "just the way things are."

Every language contains puns, wordplay that lets you take similar words, or words with multiple meanings to make a point. Klingon is no exception. We can use that to summarize some of this Psalm's advice.

The word for "to emit odor," He' , and "course or route" He are virtually the same. So you might sum up the warning of Psalm 1:1 with:

mIgh HeDaq bIQamchugh vaj mIgh He' DalIjchu'

that is:

if you stand in the evil road (mIgh He), then you will will surely forget the evil smell (mIgh He')


It is easier than we think to get used to things. Staying put, among things we believe in our hearts are wrong may make us lose the perspective we need. The perspective that will make us act in the way that will make us truly Quch - blessed.

And the Psalms have something to say about that, too. We'll move on to the source of that perspective in the next verse of Psalm 1 - stay tuned.

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