Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NRSV)
Psalm 131 is a prayer, describing the thing we’re urged to do in this passage from Hebrews, “lay aside every weight.” This psalm ought to be read, I think, as a plea to God for the truth of the words being uttered–it’s more prophecy than observation of present circumstances.
(1) O Lord, I am not proud, I have no haughty looks.
(2) I do not occupy myself with great matters, or with things that are too hard for me.
(3) But I still my soul and make it quiet, like a child upon its mother’s breast; my soul is quieted within me.
(4) O Israel, wait upon the Lord, from this time forth for evermore.
(via the Book of Common Prayer)
Jesus came because our sin is too heavy for us, because He can and does carry it himself. Our propensity to turn away from God is too great to overcome ourselves, we must, in humility, lay aside the weight of making our own salvation happen again and again. All to Jesus I surrender.
Through that laying down, through truly letting go of trying to control or to work ourselves into righteousness, our souls become quiet, our souls and our selves thereby inhabit the place we’re made for–we’re rightly out of the driver’s seat, listening, and being quiet. We’re being, or practicing being, the humans that we are.
We Gentile Christians are grafted into Israel because of Jesus’ sacrifice, and just as people have waited on God for centuries–thousands of years, even–our occupation is to wait upon the Lord.
A Psalm 131 Rewrite:
Lord, keep us from being proud, and from looking down our noses.
Help us to remember that You are God, You are almighty, and we only need to be servants.
Quiet our hearts before You, drown out voices of worry and despair; relax our frazzled minds into trust in You, let us feel your hands holding us up.
Throughout all time, O Master, your servants have listened to your directions. We now join with your witnesses from all time, waiting for Your coming again.
In the name of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.