Rebecca Beal
St. Luke’s, Scranton

Happy are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Happy are they who observe his decrees
and seek him with all their hearts!
Who never do any wrong,
but always walk in his ways.
You laid down your commandments,
that we should fully keep them.
Oh, that my ways were made so direct
that I might keep your statutes!
Psalm 119:1-5

These first five verses of Psalm 119 refer again and again to walking in God’s ways, following God’s laws. Such walking, for the Psalmist, is the “direct” way. There seems to be, however, a gap between what we should do—walk blamelessly in the law of the Lord—and what we actually do: “Oh that my ways were made so direct!” the fifth verse exclaims.

I well remember Demery Bader-Saye preaching at the Church of the Epiphany, in Glenburn, that we live in the “now but also not-yet” of God’s kingdom: the kingdom is among us, as Christ taught, but we also pray that it may come—it is not yet here. We want to walk perfectly, happily, and constantly in God’s ways, but we are not yet able to do so. That time is not yet. Some of us are still toddlers, and the rest of us exclaim how well we are doing! We’re walking! Some of us are rushing along, at a good clip, while others of us (I say ruefully) are limping somewhat. However we walk, we do so in the “not-yet.” Our diocesan pilgrimage, too, is in the “not-yet” of this journey; we expect it will end next Advent, or with the coming of our new bishop, but we know, really, that it will only end with the coming of our risen Jesus, who walks with us even now.