If it had not been the Lord who was on our side—let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Are you a butter-side-up person or a butter-side-down type of person? Are you a republican or a democrat? A liberal or a conservative? A UC or Xavier or Ohio St fan? A Bengals or a Steelers fan? Are you an interventionist or an isolationist? The first question of course seems to be a bit out of step with the others, but it makes sense if you are familiar with the Dr. Seuss book, “The Butter Battle Book” – a story about two groups of people who both love toast and both love butter, but one likes it butter side up and the other butter side down. Their hatred of each other is such that an arms race begins of epic proportions until finally we read the following as each side is holding a “bomb” that will wipe the other out…
‘Grandpa!’ I shouted. ‘Be careful! Oh, gee!
Who’s going to drop it?
Will you…? Or will he…?’
‘Be patient,’ said Grandpa. ‘We’ll see.
We will see…
I have always “loved” (I put this in quotes because this is a wonderful book, but I am not sure its supposed to be ‘loved’ as much as learned from) this book by Dr Suess because it speaks on so many levels and has a tremendous message. I admit that as I read the Psalm today, I got the shivers a bit when I read the first two lines about “the Lord being on our side.” I totally understand what is being said here and I understand where the writer was coming from. I have said similar things myself and I resonate with the last verse about our help being in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Absolutely. Absolutely.
But the “our side” and “your side” just bothers me so much today. I see it on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX. I read about it online. I see it in conversations among friends and family. I see it in churches. On and on and on. So much is about who wins and who loses. Who scores the political points on their opponent? Whose approval ratings are rising and whose are falling? It happens in our government down to our families.
Are there differences among people? Absolutely there are? Are there areas that we cannot find a middle ground? Absolutely. Are there areas where truth must be maintained? Absolutely. But in the midst, can we not treat each other like enemies all the time, but instead people who are struggling with the same things along the way. Can we not only look to our own interests, but to the interests of others? (I think I read that in Scripture somewhere…)
Butter-side-up or butter-side-down?