Scripture: Psalm 36
Key Verse: (4) They plot mischief while on their beds; they are set on a way that is not good.
Reflection: Sitting is the new smoking. Have you heard this? I was driving in the car halfway through a very long drive to get to our vacation destination when I heard this on the radio. Any of the righteousness I had gained from avoiding junk food while travelling evaporated as I imagined my ten-hour drive being the same as smoking a carton of unfiltered Camels. Should have had the fries too and called it a day.
The psalmist occasionally evokes the metaphor of sitting or lying down to describe wickedness or despair. Lying down can also refer to death and dying and some of our evening prayers try to ward off the fear we have that sleep is like death and we are helpless. In this psalm, instead of praying or sleeping, while lying down the person is plotting mischief (which sounds like a silly, childish word until you encounter someone who makes mischief and you realize it is not silly at all). At the end of the psalm the wicked are lying prostrate and are unable to rise. This is one way to understand being down and dirty.
The opposite of lying down is standing. To stand, to rise, is to acknowledge that you are alive, that you can move. We say things like ‘hold your head high,” “raise your expectations,” “lift up your hearts,” or “stand tall.” The Orthodox Church doesn’t have pews in their sanctuaries because Sunday is the day of resurrection and the proper, only, posture they declare, is to stand. It is simplistic perhaps but encourage yourself today to stand up. Like a tree, like a flower, like the tallest building you have ever seen—stand up. Feel how life courses through you. Remind yourself that when you stand you are prepared—you can turn, walk, run, dance, rest, jump. To stand is to see a little further and think a little clearer. When you stand you can not only hear Jesus say “follow me” but you can respond too.
Prayer: Lord, today let me stand in the place where I work and where I live. With my feet on the ground take my heart in your hands and direct me, invite me, guide me. Help me to rise above all that would hurt or harm; help me to stand against any that would injure. Enable me, Lord, to stand and know that, in Christ, I am alive this day. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].