Sometime during my career as a high school French teacher it occurred to me that my name means laws in French. (The plural of la loi is les lois.) That seems rather obvious and not an earth-shattering revelation but I guess the word must have come up in the singular if used at all in class; for some reason it never dawned on me. When it did, it made me consider how it fit my personality. Although I have continued to be a law-abiding citizen, I have tried to be a bit less strident in taking stands on complicated issues.
And then there is God’s law. This morning’s psalm response (Ps. 119: 97-102) was one of those where each verse is quite brief so that the refrain is repeated many times in quick succession. It began with the following: Lord, I love your commands. How I love your law, O Lord! It is my meditation all the day. Lord, I love your commands. The refrain repeats five more times around the verses in what seemed to me like staccato rhythm. It gave me pause, first because usually the only people I hear speak of loving law are lawyers, but secondly because it seems there is a wide gap sometimes in the law of the world and the law of God. Human laws are not always made these days (it seems) for the good of the whole but rather skewed away from “the common folk.” God’s law of universal love is quite different. To be fair there are many wonderful people who work tirelessly to narrow the gap between the two but it is often a thankless task.
Today I pray that people will come to a better understanding of the words of the psalmist, seen here in a contemporary translation. This is the way I choose to live the law in identification with my name!
My heart and mind are centered on your will. O, how I love to walk in your ways. For as I ponder these my wisdom grows. They make me wise beyond my years. I’m wiser now than many teachers and all the teachings that this world can give, because I hold to wisdom’s gift. I’m stronger than my many foes or fears of them. As you yourself instructed, I’ll turn my feet away from every evil on this path through life. You are the teacher and the teaching, Lord.