As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 42
Last night a group of us met at church. We gathered around to savor the gift of the Beatitudes; the group of teachings found in Matthew 5: 1- 12. They are a part of that great set of teachings known as the Sermon on the Mount.
Last night’s portion had to do with hungering and thirsting for righteousness with the assurance that such hunger will result in being filled.
Like so many words in our faith tradition, “righteousness” has become a hitch word. So often we automatically include the word “self” in front of that righteousness word, and the result is a flee-from-it sense that we want none of it. Self righteous people make for soul curl. We’ve felt their scathe, and want nothing to do with righteousness.
But the unpacking of the word leads us to claim a longing that is real. Righteousness has to do with knowing our hunger and thirst for Holy communion. To be in righteous relationship with the Holy is to know our need for God and our thirst for God steep and we want that right relationship embedded in the word we resist. To be righteous is to know our utter need for and dependence upon the Holy.
And, to be righteous is to know our longing for soul fill. We find it in different ways: The loves we embrace, the beauty we soak in, the savor of words and sound that hum our beings, the sweet sound of silence through which our God may breathe grace.
We are like deer that skittishly leave the wrap of the woods. Thirsty we are, and tired of lurking in the shadows we are, and the sun is sparkling on the water of grace and so venture out we do.
Because our souls thirst for the living God.
We’re tired of being thirsty.