Scripture Text: Psalm 119: 9-16 (Lent 5B Alternative Psalter)
9How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
10With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.
11I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes.
13With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth.
14I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.
16I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
Do you delight in God? It’s a strange word, probably one we don’t use that often. The dictionary says it means to “please someone greatly”. I don’t know if that really works here. I mean, I don’t really think of God as “pleasing me greatly”, as if that’s what God is trying to do—just please me, like it’s all about me. (Because I’m clear that it’s not all about me!) No, this rather make me think of some of the wisdom passages that speak of daring to have a love for God that is deeper than you even thought possible, a love that comes from the very depths of one’s soul, (read Song of Songs or Song of Solomon when you get a chance!) from the place that you did not think it was even possible to access. It’s a love that is so deep that you seem to become a part of what you love, a part of the very experience that IS God. I think THAT’S what delighting in God is.
See, so many of us think of God as some sort of barely accessible character on the outskirts of our lives, watching over us, maybe even supervising us. But I don’t get the impression that that’s what God desires. Why in the world would God have created everything that is and then filled the earth (or, I don’t know, maybe even some other places!) with humans and other creatures just to watch them and make sure they behave. That sounds very exhausting to me. No, I think God created us because we are God’s delight. We are part of what makes God delight, along with all the rest of Creation.
So, perhaps delighting in God is coming closer to the delight that God has for us. And if it is something that God does, then, by my calculation, it is holy. Perhaps, then, delighting in God is to acknowledge that holiness, to dare to come closer, to actually get out of ourselves, and experience it, to know delight. In Hebrew thought, to “know” is not just limited to intellectual capacity. It is not just understanding facts or that something exists. To know God is not just to know OF God. To “know” connotes a familiarity, an intimacy. To know God is to delight in God.
In this wilderness season, we have encountered the unfamiliar, a strangeness that is not that to which we are accustomed. And yet, as we travel, we have grown to know it, to know the path itself rather than the destination. That is delight. The whole idea of delighting in God just as God delights in us sort of, to me, loosens some of those limits that we have placed upon our relationship with God. No longer is God that overwhelming deity that supervises me or controls me like a puppet on a string. No longer is God something for which I’m required to clean up my act or be presentable to encounter. No longer is God waiting until I have enough faith or enough belief or whatever else before I can approach God. God does not wait for us to change; God waits for us to delight in God. God is always there delighting in me, delighting in all of us. And when we come to understand that, when we come to know God with the intimacy of our Creator, of our very source of being, then we, too, can delight.
This season of Lent is one that reveals to us that deep and abiding relationship with God. It is a relationship where God delights in us and we delight in God. And rather than following the rules that we’ve laid out or acting “appropriately”, delight can almost be characterized as a type of holy play, a conversation between our soul and its Creator. To delight in God is to know who God created us to be. It is a oneness with God (not a BECOMING God—that will never happen. God is God; we are not.) Delighting is not being “godly”; delighting is knowing God in the deepest part of your being. What a delight!
With so much in creation, why did You bother to make this blue planet so beautiful? Why was it worth the effort? This blue planet is insignificant, seemingly unimportant, yet You have made it painfully beautiful. Why? The answer, I think, is that is the way You do everything. Beauty—mighty and small—delights You. This tiny planet delights You. (Andrew Greeley)
Grace and Peace,