The LORD unto my Lord has said, “Sit here at my right hand until I make your enemies submit to your command.” A sceptre prospered by the LORD your mighty hand shall wield; from Zion you shall rule the world, and all your foes shall yield.
2 Your people will be gladly yours when you arise in might, like dawning day, like hopeful youth, with holy beauty bright. The priesthood of Melchizedek the LORD has given you; it shall remain forevermore; God’s word is always true.
3 You shall subdue the kings of earth, with God at your right hand; the nations you shall rule in might and judge in every land. The Lord, refreshed by living streams, shall neither faint nor fall, and he shall be the glorious head, exalted over all.
Psalter Hymnal, 1987 You can hear this sung here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y_X-HneZ-k
Wow! Imagine all that power! Subduing the kings of earth; ruling in might; judging in every land; making our enemies submit to our command. Powerful images of Zeus sitting on Mount Olympus with his lightning bolt ready to strike spring to mind.
But this is not about us as mortals. Supposedly written originally to celebrate the coronation of David, (but with hints suggesting the coming of Christ) it still shows David’s subordination in that he sits at the right hand of God. At the time of writing, we had just celebrated the 70th Jubilee of our late Queen and whether or not you agree with the monarchy, you cannot knock the years of humble service she had given to her country (and wider nations). The Queen was not a despotic ruler of the past, but a respectful force for good. Her tolerance and ability to hold herself with dignity had been her strength over the last 7 decades.
The Psalm goes on to talk about the gift of the priesthood of Melchizedek – not the hereditary priesthood of Aaron – but the High Priesthood pointing to Christ the great High Priest showing us that this is no ordinary role. This is not the recognised role of a ruler or Priest, but the new way of being that the Messiah will bring. Challenging those in power as the Messiah will rule over all – but, as we see from the gospels – not with a mighty army, but with the power of love.
May we recognise the power of God and the rule of love of Christ, the Messiah, and work to challenge those in authority to bring justice and peace to all.
God, you have the power to strike down our enemies but chose to send your Son to love them. Help us to see power not as a way to oppress others, but as a way to challenge what is wrong, so that it may be put right. Help us to love others including our enemies, that we may serve you in all we do. Amen
The Rev’d Ruth Watson SCM MediaCityUK Church, Salford Quays