Every Sunday there is a set psalm. The set psalm for today is Psalm 65. Part of my practice is to read the Sunday -approaching-psalm throughout the week. Some weeks it feels like I am carrying the psalm. Other weeks it feels like the psalm is carrying me. To carry and be carried by ancient words. Ancient words that help me hear today’s words differently. This past week there was one line in particular from Psalm 65 that I have been living with: “At the rise of each morning, and as the sun sets at night, the people bow their heads in reverent gratitude.” (Translation from: Nan C. Merrill’s Psalms for Praying). The scented invitation of each day this past week has simply been to bow my head in reverent gratitude.
Now on Wednesday evening I attended the book launch of Days of Zondo written by Ferial Haffajee who was interviewed by fellow journalist Rebecca Davis. From the launch, I am convinced Days of Zondo will be an important and riveting read, but the book itself is not the focus of this note. Bowing my head in reverent gratitude is the point of this note. And that was the overwhelming desire I had when I left the book launch: to bow my head in reverent gratitude for these two people who constantly save our country from falling off the cliff into oblivion. They, and others like them, do this saving work day in and day out. Yes, salvation work is everlasting and never-ending work.
And what is salvation work? It is the work of healing and liberation. Healing work that flows from the implementation of justice and mercy. And liberation work that flows from the application of truth. Jesus told us the truth sets us free, but his crucified body tells us that the truth is also enormously threatening to those who live off systems built on lies. And this is why I was moved to bow my head in reverent gratitude on Wednesday evening. Reverent gratitude for two people who love the truth. That was my overriding sense: these two are in love with the truth. They will do anything to unearth the truth, expose the truth, explain the truth, broadcast the truth, publish the truth. And their love for the truth casts out their fear of those who fear the truth, and this enables them to continue their salvation work.
So, for all the truth tellers – I bow my head in reverent gratitude. For those who are fearlessly in love with truth – I bow my head in reverent gratitude. For every investigative journalist – I bow my head in reverent gratitude. For every independent truth-seeking media house – I bow my head in reverent gratitude. For every whistle-blower who places truth above their job or position – I bow my head in reverent gratitude. For every activist and civil society organisation hard pressed for finances and resources but doggedly continues to raise issues of injustice – I bow my head in reverent gratitude. For legal brains and legal firms that use the law for salvation work and not Stalingrad work – I bow my head in reverent gratitude. I bow my head in reverent gratitude to these salvation workers in our land today. I invite you to add to the list … and bow your head in reverent gratitude.