God Has Left the Building…
Help O Lord, …the faithful have disappeared from humankind. -Ps. 12:1
“Help! O Lord,” writes the pslamist, “the godly are gone. The faithful have disappeared from humanity.” This is no maudlin nostalgia over hero's of faith come and gone, but an impassioned plea amidst social and political upheaval. By “godly” or “faithful,” the psalmist refers to that spirit which enables human beings to be humane.
While the Psalmist is concerned with faith in general, he is here primarily interested in rhetoric/language. This is not to be confused with political correctness on the one hand, nor “Go Brandon!” sentiment on the other. He is interested in rhetoric/language as formative for humanity.
When the rhetoric/language of the faith community is in peril, enthusiasm wanes, participation wanes, and perhaps more critically, needs go unmet. When our language becomes one sided as it does today among the political right or left, progress comes to a halt.
As the psalmist observes:
They talk with slick speech
And divided hearts…
“Because the poor are neglected
And the needy groan,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord,
“I will provide them with the wellbeing
For which they long.” -Ps.12:2–5
The poetry advocates not for liberal language or conservative language, but God language. This is the language that unites around a common purpose — attending human need. This is the language that makes a place for both liberal voice, conservative voice and everything in between, not because it chooses sides, but because God has chosen it for life and wellbeing.
Such language makes provision for the outsider, even those who may not subscribe to such. Why? Because the psalmist believes that when bread is shared with the hungry, the voice of God is heard. When healing is offered to the sick, the voice of God is heard. When comfort is offered to the grieving, the voice of God is heard. It is the language of faith and godliness.
This is perhaps why many today are so struck by the spirit of the people of Ukraine. They believe in a world that is humane. It is an ALL HANDS ON DECK kind of belief. It is infectious and people will sacrifice more than a lot to be a part of it. In such times, faith exits our sanctuaries because it is now on our lips and in our hearts.