Psalm 104

“Wrapped in a robe of light…” (104:2)

Light represents purity. Light contains the complete range of colors in the spectrum; therefore, purity also embraces a diversity of colors. To extend the metaphor, it also embraces a diversity of genders, orientations, religions, political positions, and all of the other differences in humanity that contribute light. From this I exclude acts of hatred, aggressive violence, and any other evil which takes light away from the world. The entire world will be enrobed with light if and only if we achieve the messianic vision of destroying implements of war, sitting down with our historic enemies, and building a Temple of peace at which all people can gather and be thankful to the Source of their wisdom.

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Psalm 68

“Scatter the peoples who delight in wars!” (68:31)

I understand the need for military action or war and I might even cheer when a really bad guy is taken down. But war inevitably leads to the death of innocent people. Soldiers sent to do a job suffer death and injury. Civilian casualties are virtually certain, no matter how carefully the rules of war try to minimize them. The destruction of the infrastructure, such as rail lines, roads, water treatment facilities, and businesses, destroys the economy and takes years, even decades, to rebuild. In the meantime, people suffer and die, not because they are supporters of the evil regime, but because they happened to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time. I want my elected representatives to abhor war.

Psalm 59

“They come back each evening howling like dogs.” (59:7)

A dog barks when it feels threatened or is protecting its pack. A small dog barks more than a large dog, whose growl alone is enough to frighten away potential threats. A small dog is more likely to bite precisely because its bark is not taken seriously. We can draw two lessons from this: First, when someone makes threats, take them seriously, no matter how much you believe that the individual is not serious. Second, just as under the right circumstances it is possible to make friends with most barking dogs, never forget that under the right conditions, most enemies can become friends.

Psalm 56

“Regarding the silent, far-away, dove …” (56:1)

The doomsday clock hangs on a wall in the University of Chicago’s office of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Standing two and a half minutes before midnight, it signifies how close the world is to a global catastrophe.

A dove is a symbol of gentleness and peace. The closer the hands on the doomsday clock are to midnight, the farther away is the dove. The closer we bring the dove, the farther back the hands move. While the achievement of world peace is not entirely in our power, we do have the capacity to lay the groundwork to let the dove know that she is welcome.