Psalm 25, verse 1 - To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust. With these words the psalmist reminds us that we can have complete confidence in God. Today we discover that Advent has crept up on us. The shops have been ready since September – but today is the one when the Church proclaims that Christmas is coming. We are getting ready. It is time to prepare.
Advent is a time of hope. That is reflected in Psalm 25, but this psalm, like so many of the psalms, is essentially a psalm of lament. It is an expression of fear and of concern. Do not let me be put to shame. In childish terms there are so many things that place us on the naughty step. What are we to do? The psalmist approaches God amid the turmoil of life and asks for help. And that is done with confidence. The psalmist clearly expects that all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
I wonder if one of the things we can then take from this psalm is about the importance of trust. I have been reading Matt Ridley’s book “The Rational Optimist”. At one point he refers to the way in which the internet, despite all the ways in which it can be used for wrong and the whole great issue of cyber crime, it can be, and essentially is, for the most part, a means of establishing trust. He points out that, as we share things with each other, we establish trust.
He writes: “the internet is a place where the problem of trust between strangers is solved daily. Viruses can be avoided, spam filters can work, Nigerian emails that con people into divulging their bank account details can be marginalised, and as for the question of trust between buyer and seller, companies like eBay have enabled their customers to police each other’s reputations by the simple practice of feedback. The internet, in other words, may be the best forum for crime, but it is also the best forum for free and fair exchange the world has ever seen. My point is simply this: with frequent setbacks, trust has gradually and progressively grown, spread and deepened during human history, because of exchange. Exchange breeds trust as much as vice versa.”
The psalm depicts a listening and trustworthy God – and a fragile grace that sustains us through the moments of brokenness. So we can be Advent people, preparing, waiting – in hope.