“34 Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor,
though you didn’t catch them breaking into your houses!
35 And yet you say,
‘I have done nothing wrong.
Surely God isn’t angry with me!’
But now I will punish you severely
because you claim you have not sinned.”
Where were your clothes made? Who died to provide you with fashions to cover your body? Whose blood is on the everyday comforts with which you surround yourself?
In the Psalms class this semester, we’ve been struggling with the sometimes-judgmental and sometimes-angry God we seem to be facing in those poem-prayers. It’s been hard to face up to the fact that the living God is more than a comforting Teddy Bear. Let us not try to castrate our God, the Almighty Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The first chapters of Jeremiah make clear that God’s wrath is on those who are unrepentant and who lie to themselves, saying they are righteous and faithful when they are full of rotting sin. 2:22, “Though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, says the Lord God.” (RSV) We live without intent and without reflection, we trample those who cannot pick themselves up, and we are culpable for our transgression. It’s not pretty, but is it true. Would we really even want to worship a God who wasn’t livid at this sort of treatment of the poor and downtrodden?