A Rejected Stone? Reflections on Psalm 118:14-29

I thought of this phrase as I witnessed the latest so-called debate among now five remaining Republican aspirants to the U.S. presidency. It was a most disheartening display of supposed righteousness and assumed wisdom all couched in language and actions that an 8th grader would blush to hear. Each of these mountebanks without a shred of decency or shame attacked one another, shouted while each attempted to speak, pointed bony or fat fingers at one another in rage and indignation, struggling to call the other liar, fool, bigot, before he was called those names first. Recess at the local middle school offers wiser heads than these! And each of them is contesting to become the chief of the corner? It fairly boggles the mind!

Could it be that each of them are well short of the chesed of God, and that in the end may all find themselves watching the inauguration of one so different to high office. Or maybe not! All seven candidates who remain from both parties seem to be in danger of losing their way, straying so far from the chesed of YHWH. The psalmist knows, and so should we, that we finally cannot put our ultimate trust in princes, but in God alone.

What that means is not a pious simplism about what God wants from us, a cliché that too often turns out to be what we have decided to do already. Where can we find the chesed of God? If God is God of all people, then any discrimination cannot represent the chesed of God. If God showers that love on all people, then any hierarchies of who is better than who cannot represent the chesed of God. "Put not your trust in princes" should be emblazoned on all of our hearts this political season, along with the reminder that the stone we may have rejected may be the very stone that God will use to make our world the place God wants it to be.

3/29/2016 4:00:00 AM
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  • John Holbert
    About John Holbert
    John C. Holbert is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor Emeritus of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, TX.
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