Friday, September 30, 2011

Psalm 119:1

Alleluia. Blessed are the blameless in the way,
Who walk in the law of the Lord.

Most of the Church's understanding of the Old Testament and in particular the Psalms derives from a Christological reading of them. Reading through the Old Testament with my Orthodox Study Bible, I see it is filled with study notes about the God-man who would enter the world much later. For the Church (outside of modernity's historical-critical imposition upon the sacred scriptures) Christ is found on every page of the Old Testament, especially the Psalms.

Indeed for most of the Church, Christ is found to be the true author of the Psalms. Chris is the true psalmist. As many of the early Church Father's note regarding Ps. 1:1 "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly...", that "man" is Jesus Christ. He is the blessed man whose will is the "law of the Lord." (1:2).

There again we see the blessed one/s are blameless "who walk in the law of the Lord." Christ again rings out as the Blessed Blameless one, for He is th sonly one who blamelessly walks in the law of the Lord. To this I add my own hearty, "Alleluia." It is not me who is blameless in the law, but the spotless Lamb of God. In Jesus is found the pure obedient Son of God and law-keeper. He fulfills the law completely, submitting to it at every turn of His life. O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. (Mt 26:39).

Christ is the Blessed one for in keeping all of the Law in pure fidelity to His Father, He is truly blameless. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens. (Heb. 7:26). And this blessed blamelessness is proven true, right, and rewarded by God in the Resurrection of the servant Son who drank the cup of the Father's will. It is His vindication from the charges of not walking in the law of the Lord leveled by the chief priests, scribes, pharisees, elders, etc. Life from death is the reward of the blameless. Resurrected eternal life.

So what of us? We are the blamed, the ones condemned under the law. We are fallen to the point of being unable to walk in the law of the Lord. It is outside of our reach and beyond our comprehension. Therefore how can we walk? Who will teach us? How do we attain to this blessed blamelessness? How do we attain the reward which follows, resurrection to life? It is, I think, found in the word, "Alleluia." Praise the Lord. This word can only be uttered first from the heart transformed by the grace of faith given by God in Baptism. It is this heart which speaks faith sustained by the Word and the Sacrament.

Because of Christ we are given a share of His blessed blamelessness through faith empowered by the Holy Spirit through the Sacraments. Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Rom 6:4). Again the apostle writes, "I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and set me free." (Gal 2:20).

To live in faith is to live in Christ and He in you. And what is Christ doing in you? He is doing that which He did from the beginning, that which He has always done; walking in the way of the Lord and now getting and transforming me to do the same. To walk in the law of the Lord is to share the life of Christ and to be shaped by His life.

In as much as we live by faith in Him we are always, for it cannot be separated, walking in the law of the Lord. There we are blessed in this life as He conforms us to Himself by the Holy Spirit and the means of grace. Because He is at work in us, we journey with Him in His walk from obedience to death, and to life everlasting.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

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