Read | Psalm 50
The Mighty One, God, the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes
and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
and around him a tempest rages.
He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me this consecrated people,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for he is a God of justice.
“Listen, my people, and I will speak;
I will testify against you, Israel:
I am God, your God.
I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
But to the wicked person, God says:
“What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
When you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.
You use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
You sit and testify against your brother
and slander your own mother’s son.
When you did these things and I kept silent,
you thought I was exactly like you.
But I now arraign you
and set my accusations before you.
“Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me,
and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
Respond | Joey Dearduff
As we stand bare before God, having already sacrificed in this new rhythm of quarantine our daily comforts, our peace of mind, our understanding of normalcy, our pursuit of pleasure, and our seeking of social interaction and human connection, what have we left to sacrifice? Have we not already sacrificed enough? Is God not yet satisfied with what we have offered? As we read Psalm 50, it might seem as though our sacrifice is not yet good enough. But God desires not so much the sacrifice of our comfort and pleasure; God desires not so much for us to give up our daily rhythms; God desires not a sacrifice of our time and focus and energy: God desires a sacrifice of ourselves. God does not desire my time; God desires me. God does not desire my comfort; God desires me. When we have nothing left to sacrifice, we are left with sacrificing ourselves, giving who we were and who we are and who we will become to the one who sits with us, freed from all that we have already sacrificed.