Although English was one of my favorite subjects in school I was never very enamored of grammar until I began teaching French. Now as I try every morning to write sentences that attend to case and tense while trying to avoid dangling participles, etc. I’m grateful for all the rules that have become (almost) second nature to me. This morning I was struck by Psalm 85 where the fanciful personification of virtues got me thinking.
Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth and justice shall look down from heaven.
What does Kindness look like, I wonder. A bespectacled grandmother, maybe, who stands tall when Truth enters the room because she knows the importance of engaging him at every turn. The partnering of Justice and Peace is essential for any success on the world stage and a peaceful kiss certainly goes a long way toward settling issues of justice between siblings. “Kiss and make up” has been advice for as long as I can remember. What would they look like at a world conference, these two hoped for conclusions? What colors would they wear? How would they style their hair?
Silly? Perhaps, but it seems that these words need amplification if the underlying virtues are to help us at all these days. What is true justice and how do we achieve it? It seems that we need to keep it close to peace in our hearts even to approach an understanding. What about the infusion of kindness into our truth-telling? It certainly would help when the message is a difficult one to swallow. Sometimes imagination is more useful than concrete, serious thinking. Maybe today is one of those times.