You Had to Be There (Psalm 2)
Reflections on Psalm 2
How can I describe the joy of watching the westering Mediterranean sun slip beneath the horizon’s edge? What words could define the clarity of my grandma’s final words to me before she awoke on heaven’s distant shore? I could try, but I would disappoint. Such recollections, blazing with clarity in my mind, smolder to ash on my lips. These stories are usually best ended by, “You had to be there.”
What do these burning moments have in common? C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory describes the sensation like this:
“These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited” (The Weight of Glory).
They are feet resting in cool water on a hot day. They are visions of morning light cracking over night. The body is not submerged, nor is the sun yet risen, but they carry longing and the promise of joy unbound. They are news from a kingdom we have not seen, but whose King has walked among us.
The King’s Joy
Heaven’s Sovereign appeared to the wandering human flock. He came to men who have bent their knees to consuming idols. He came to woman who have directed their longings toward fading feasts. The great King became like us because he understands our longings and can put words to the wordless stirrings beauty evokes in us.
He knows that joy is not bartered for on the idol’s alter, nor is it hidden in creation’s accoutrements. The painful twinge for Something More is the handle Heaven grips to turn toward us Home. It is the Prodigal coming to his senses and meeting his Father whilst still on the road.
Jesus is the good news from the Kingdom we have not seen. He is the great King whose overflowing joy will erase any resistance to bowing before heaven’s throne. God is the painted sunset that the horizon will never consume. Jesus is the happy clarity that will never pass away. His love for me and you is the story so sweetly ineffable that we can only say, “You have to be there.”
Footsteps—putting feet on our faith
1. Describe a time you were overwhelmed by joy or beauty.
2. How can Jesus fulfill that joy?
Dear God, you are the artist who paints the sunset. You are the poet crafting life’s mysteries. You are joy, beauty, and mercy. At your table I find all that my longing heart needs, yet I frolic among vanities begging a penny of their wealth. They, however, are paupers apart from your life. Only in submitting myself to you do I find, and long for, the joy my heart has craved all along. In Christ I pray, amen.