Today’s daily lesson comes from Psalm 82 verses 6 and 7:
6 I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
I’m pretty sure if I stood up on Sunday and started telling the congregation they are gods there would be a lot of pushback, and in former times probably a heresy trial. It would be better received to stand up and tell people they are worms than it would be to tell them they’re gods.
But there it is, nevertheless, right here in the psalm, “You are gods.” And lest we think this is just an Old Testament throw away line that ought to be forgotten, we need to remember that Jesus himself quoted it. He too, apparently, thought we are gods.
So what to make of this?
Here what Richard Rohr calls “the non dualistic mind” is necessary. We are gods, sons and daughters of the most high, the psalm tells us. No higher anthropology can be conceived. And yet, we will also die, all of us — prince and commoner alike.
We are gods; and we are also dust. The two must be held together — one lest I think too lowly of myself and the other lest I think too highly.
A Richard Rohr story comes to mind to illustrate the point.
I am told that Rohr and several other Christian activists were once arrested after an act of civil disobedience. They were in jail for a few days, and after three days together in the slammer even these saints started stinking like fish. One was especially both irritable and agitating. At some point everyone including Rohr had had enough of their cell mate. Rohr approached him, grabbed him by the shoulder and said, “My brother, you are full of the love of God,” he said, “and you are also full of shit.”
I really don’t know if that story is true or apocryphal and I don’t really care because it helps me to remember that the people I will encounter today are both a hell of a lot better and a hell of a lot worse than I can imagine; and I am too.
And that helps me keep everything in perspective.