The Wisdom of Integrity

October 24, 2006

Daily OfficeIntegrity uses Psalm 84 as its “motto” Psalm– No good thing will God withhold from those who walk with Integrity.

Yesterday’s Daily Office included Psalm 25, which says, “May Integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.”

Today’s Daily Office has Psalm 26, with this little gem, “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in Integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering…  For your steadfast love is before my eyes and I walk in faithfulness before you.”

It has occurred to me yesterday and today that Integrity is just a great choice for that organization’s name, as we are waiting for good things– for who could call full inclusion in the sacraments and rites of the church anything else– and we do so without wavering, knowing that in God’s steadfast love those things will be provided.  (Note:  I don’t speak for the organization, but my own viewpoint.)

So what is integrity? (the word, not the organization) Yesterday’s office had a great definition from Sirach:

Watch for the opportune time, and beware of evil,
   and do not be ashamed to be yourself.
For there is a shame that leads to sin,
   and there is a shame that is glory and favour.
Do not show partiality, to your own harm,
   or deference, to your downfall.
Do not refrain from speaking at the proper moment,
   and do not hide your wisdom.
For wisdom becomes known through speech,
   and education through the words of the tongue.
Never speak against the truth,
   but be ashamed of your ignorance.
Do not be ashamed to confess your sins,
   and do not try to stop the current of a river.
Do not subject yourself to a fool,
   or show partiality to a ruler.
Fight to the death for truth,
   and the Lord God will fight for you.

Do not be reckless in your speech,
   or sluggish and remiss in your deeds.
Do not be like a lion in your home,
   or suspicious of your servants.
Do not let your hand be stretched out to receive
   and closed when it is time to give.

I particularly like the bit about shame.  We know about shame in the GLBT community.  We have been shamed into the closet.  That is a shame that leads to the sin of self-hatred.  It seems that this litle bit of wisdom contrasts that with the “shame of glory and favor”.  I can’t help but think of power- and the struggle of some to fight our efforts for full inclusion.

I don’t really think the rest of the scripture needs much exegetical commentary.  It stands on its own.  We’ve got work to do, it can be carried to extremes on either side, and finding the balance that carries us forward together in the light of God is our struggle as humans.

j

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