8 Let me hear what the Lord God says,
because he speaks peace to his people and to his faithful ones.
Don’t let them return to foolish ways.
9 God’s salvation is very close to those who honor him
so that his glory can live in our land.
10 Faithful love and truth have met;
righteousness and peace have kissed.
11 Truth springs up from the ground;
righteousness gazes down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord gives what is good,
and our land yields its produce.
13 Righteousness walks before God,
making a road for his steps.
This Psalm, and in particular this section of the Psalm, has inspired many artists across the centuries. Often in their paintings, two human-like but perhaps angelic-like figures are representative of peace and righteousness (or justice). Often they are depicted as kissing, as we read in verse 10, but sometimes they are depicted as fighting. The reason for that is that the Hebrew word in the original form of this text can either be translated to “kiss” or “fight”. This may seem strange as they appear to be opposing words, but that adds an extra layer of dynamics when thinking about this text.
In today’s scripture, the Psalmist is beautifully talking about how God speaks peace into being. When God creates peace, those of faith can tune into that call and create it in the world. When we truly listen to God’s call for peace, the goodness of the world meets, it springs from the earth, it creates a path forward. With God’s calling for us to be peacemakers, honesty meets love and morality meets peace.
But good and bad always live in tension with one another. When navigating what is righteous, just and moral, sometimes that correlates with peace. Sometimes the two kiss. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes doing what we believe is the right thing can be anything but peaceful. Sometimes its standing up for yourself or others. Sometimes its removing yourself from a toxic situation or relationship. These things are often not peaceful. It’s as if what is right disrupts the peace. It’s messy and scary and stressful. When navigating what is righteous, we’re going to get things wrong. It’s comes with being human. But, what we can do is constantly evaluate whether we are listening to God’s call to peace or others voices. God can help guide us to a world of justice, even if it doesn’t always meet peace with a kiss.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Think about a time when you feel that the Holy Spirit has guided you towards doing what you believe is right. What came of it? Where was the role of peace in that scenario?
Prayer: Prince of Peace, the world is a mess. Peace can seem difficult to find. Peace can sometimes come in conflict with what we feel you calling us to do. Help us remember what you want for us and for this world is to feel at peace. Amen.