I love the Psalms and reflections on them. The Psalms are prayers and songs that let us say things we are not sure we can say to God. They guide our hearts into the presence of God, and they allow our emotions to enter the worship chambers of eternity.
I was reading/singing through them this morning and these stanzas jumped out at me:
Mercy and truth have met together;Righteousness and peace have kissed. (Psalm 85:10; NKJV)
Mercy and truth have met together. They are not strangers no matter how far apart we separate them. They have met like negotiators to resolve matters that could keep them apart and cause another war.
Truth tells the dark, blatant facts and unassailable realities that reveal our fallen nature and root of evil in our lives. Truth reveals the nonnegotiable facts of life and will not compromise. Truth shines light on reality and does not care to hand out sunglasses.
Mercy sits at the same table and does not deny the truth but offers forgiveness and hope. Mercy shields us from the glare of truth and softens the edges of the brutal cascade of facts. Mercy absorbs truth in the ocean of love and refuses to keep a log of its missteps.
If they are so different, how did they meet?
On the cross. The glaring truth of reality and the compassionate mercy of God met, negotiated, and left hand-in-hand when Jesus hung between them and brought them together on the cross. The cross is the center piece of history for those who insist on the truth and long for mercy. Truth calls for justice. Mercy supplies it. The cross is where they met.
Righteousness and peace kissed. They did not kiss a sloppy, seventh-grader kiss at a school function. It's more like a Jordanian and Israeli neighbor who greet each other with a kiss at the door of one's home. Who is right, what is just, and how one satisfies a Holy God in a world of war insists righteousness stand his ground and avoid the approaching neighbor because of unmet expectations and sub-par worship of God.
Peace, on the other hand, longs to embrace righteousness for they are neighbors by providence, but his expectations are too high and too many infractions fill the distance between them. Peace cannot come without a price. They agree the price must be paid, but they cannot agree on who pays and what is the amount.
Yet, they embrace. They kiss as men in the Middle East do, and they sit down to eat together. How is this possible?
The cross. The unaltered, uncompromisable righteousness of God and the compassionate, suffering sacrificial peace of God met on the cross. Jesus' nail-scared hands took the distance neighbors of righteousness and peace and brought them together in a holy kiss as he hung and bled between them. His sacrifice satisfied Holy God's righteousness, and it unleashed a peace that surpasses our understanding. Jesus was the price for peace that satisfied the demands of righteousness.
I rejoice today because,
Mercy and truth have met together;I had nothing to do with their meeting and embrace, but I benefit every day because of their coming together on the cross of Jesus. You can too.
Righteousness and peace have kissed.