The Truth is Revealed!

There is a saying amongst many teachers out there: teaching is the process of telling smaller and smaller lies. Cynical, I know, and yet it has some truth to it. When we were children, we were taught that red and yellow make orange, red and blue make purple, and blue and yellow make green, and so on. That was our understanding of the world. Over time, however, we are shown just how small that worldview is. We are taught by artists and scientists how light refracts and reflects off of objects, how there is no such thing as black as a colour, it is just the absence of light. We are taught more and more complicated concepts and eventually begin that cycle again with the next generation.

The first time I realized that my teachers didn’t tell me the whole truth, it felt, well, wrong. They LIED to me, my indignant self thought. Why didn’t they tell me all of this when I was younger? Why did they hide the truth?

The answer, quite frankly, is that none of us are ready to learn more complicated things about the world without learning the basics. Kindergarteners can’t master physics any more than they can learn how to read ancient Sumerian.

This is the feeling I get when we dive into our Psalm today. The narrator of the Psalm is purported to be poor, but pious. A man who follows God and loves God and simply wants to follow God in all of God’s teachings. And if God could smite an enemy or two, that would be great. “Teach me your way O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; and give me an undivided heart to revere your name”. Teach me your way, Holiest of Holies. Teach me the undeniable truth that I can use to be better than others and defeat my enemies, to paraphrase. I was a teacher’s pet in school, I know apple-polishing when I see it. “O great teacher, you are so smart and so wonderful and I just want to learn everything from you I can! The others aren’t as nice as me, or as smart, or as determined to learn from you. But I am!”

God has already given us several of the big T Truths to work with. God is everlasting love, unconditional and given freely to everyone. Jewish tradition shows God as one that will answer prayers and be a God of the People, seeking justice and resisting evil. In the Christian tradition, God sent God’s son, Jesus, to both remind us of how we can love and serve one another, and to defeat death for us. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. And the Holy Spirit moves through us all as we work towards building the kingdom. God doesn’t lie. God did not deny us these truths. 

But, I believe that God is constantly revealing new truths about ourselves to us. We are constantly learning and growing, and God is showing us our reality as we grow in understanding as well. 

When we were children, we believed childish things. As we grew, we realized that the world isn’t all black and white, or the primary colours mixed together. It gets more and more complicated every day. We are more and more complicated.

God reveals to us our moments when we stumble. Maybe we should forgive our neighbour, or our enemy. Maybe we shouldn’t call for the Holiest of Holies, the Source of Love, to smite those who upset us (something our Psalm Narrator hasn’t quite learned yet). Maybe we should do more to fight for justice. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t know everything.

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your Truth”. 

The journey is long, the obstacles seem bigger each passing day. But God is there, each step of the way, reminding us of the lessons we have learned from God:

God loves us, each and every one. That will never change, never diminish, never pause for a single moment.

The Spirit moves through us all, every day, as we grow in our faith.

And Christ is present, as we learn about ourselves each and every day.

“Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your Truth”. 

For God is gracious and wonderful, for God amazes us at every turn and teaches us about ourselves every day. God reveals to us how complicated and beloved we are. Maybe we learn that we do enjoy country music, or pottery, or have a knack for learning Spanish. Maybe God teaches us that we can be overly-defensive, or tactless, or quick to judge others. Maybe, just maybe, God teaches us, yet again, that despite our moments of humanity, where we want our enemies turned to dust and we are not our best selves, that we are still worthy of love. That our worth isn’t determined by how many times we say we will praise God, or glorify God’s name. That our worth is indeed that as a human being on this planet, and that is more than enough. The biggest truths we learn from God are not about the secrets of the cosmos, but the inner workings of our spirits.

God is quick to love, slow to anger, and always teaching us about ourselves. Let us sing of gratitude for our Eternal Teacher, and remember we are always God’s students. Amen.