Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Steadfast love, justice and righteousness

I'm still at the Clergy Conference for the Diocese of Georgia. Yesterday included an ordination and an excellent 3-part presentation on end-of-life issues by a palliative care physician and a chaplain. And Dr. Walter Brueggemann continued his series of talks...

Dr. Brueggemann pointed out two triads, as he called them—the Triad of Death and the Triad of Life:

Brueggemann's two triads

This comes from other places within scripture as well, but is stated clearly by the poet/prophet Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.—Jeremiah 9:23-24
Bruegemann noted that Paul quotes this in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 when he writes, "As it is written, 'let him who boasts, boast in the Lord'" after having already contrasted God's wisdom with the wisdom of the world and God's strength with worldly power.

I do know from my styudy of Hebrew that the three words translated here as steadfast love, justice and mercy are very important words in the theology of the Old Testament and are picked up by New Testament equivilents by Jesus and the epistle writers.

So as with yesterday's entry, this is a repeating pattern of which these are two examples suggesting that we chase worldy wealth, power, and wisdom only to get anxiety for our troubles. Yet, there is a Godly option in which we pursue God's agenda of steadfast love, justice and righteousness and in the process find the freedom and abundance of which I wrote below. The problem is that if your standard is wisdom, wealth and power, then like Pharaoh or even King Solomon you will never have enough and will always be trapped into anxiously chasing more.

The question is which do you pursue and I have to admit that while I don't chase after wealth and power (if I do I am a poor pursuer of those things) but I do value wisdom. For Brueggemann though, the wisdom was knowledge for the purpose of control (my example is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden). So maybe I'm not doing that one either. Great. But how is it that I pursue Steadfast Love, Justice and Righteousness. Are these priorities of God my priorities too? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. Mostly I pursue getting through the day and week with mundane tasks more than I like to admit.

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church


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