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From the Organ Bench Psalm 72 To all parents with “young olive shoots about your table” (Ps.

128), I have for you, a special message of hope. If the hustle and bustle of Christmas, or the domestic mayhem of Christmas vacation has your parental nerves frazzled, and you missed the opportunity to export your tender shoots off to Egypt with the Holy Family this past Sunday, you still have another chance. The kings from the outmost regions of the empire are making a visit this Sunday. This is your last chance to pack the kids into smelly old camel bags. Today’s psalm repeats verses from the Second Sunday of Advent and includes additional stanzas. God’s king is “endowed with judgment” and the king’s son is endowed with “justice” (verse 1). The Kingdom of God is the backdrop for the rule of the earthly king’s son (verses 8-11). The king’s son is to rule beyond Solomon’s empire, from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, from the Euphrates to where the known land ends. From Sea to Sea And dominion from the River to the ends of the earth. King Solomon maintained a fleet on the Red Sea. His ships traveled south to Arabia and east to Africa (1Kings 9:26-28;10:11,22). The Mediterranean was a mysterious place to the Hebrews. Lacking seaports, the rulers of Israel were unable to make use of this body of water for trade. The eastern half of the Mediterranean was colonized by the Greeks, the western half by the Romans. The Euphrates is the River . The largest river in western Asia, the River is one of four mentioned in Genesis, flowing from Eden. The River was crucial to the economic, political, and military power of the kingdoms of Syria, Assyria, Persia and Babylon. All nations are subject to the rule of God even those who are enemy nations, including the desert dwellers: His foes shall kneel before him, And his adversaries lick the dust! If all nations are subject to the Lord, so are all foreign rulers and kings. Jerusalem, the sanctuary of the Lord, is also the place where foreign powers and

rulers will come to worship the Lord. Kings from the Phoenician colony in Spain (Tarshish) will come and adore the Lord. Rulers from the remote coastline of Africa (Seba) will come. Rulers from the kingdom of the Queen of Sheba, a contemporary of Solomon, will also come. All kings shall adore the LORD with gifts, tribute, homage and service. All leaders will behave as subjects because their ability to govern misses the mark. Their rule is a pathetic performance in light of the regal style of the Lord’s king: For He (the King’s Son, i.e. The Son of God) delivers the poor For the needy one who has no advocate, He delivers For He has pity on the weak, He has pity on the poor and the needy. For He redeems their life from oppression and violence; Precious, in His sight, is their blood (life). This royal psalm is the foundation of Matthew’s story of the “wise men from the East” (Matt.2:1-18). Herod, a puppet king, reacts to the message of the nativity of the KING’S Son, in the same way that the agent of the Emperor, Pilate, face to face with the KING, will react to the message. Both rulers are threatened by the possibility that another would seize political power away from them by being a hero to the poor and needy. Can’t have the meek inheriting the earth. Rome owns the world. Can’t give kingdoms away to poor people. Heaven belongs to Jupiter and his gang. Peacemakers are legions of Roman soldiers. Both Herod and Pilot protect their thrones. Both choose the same strategy to snuff the menace of the message. Murder. Delma Rouleau The Epiphany of The Lord 2 January 2011