When I was a university chaplain, I can remember the college choir singing a newly-composed version of Psalm 1 at a formal event. It was the sort of modern composition that jarred to many ears, though that did not sufficiently explain the fury of one colleague. He was enraged by its presumption: ‘how dare the bible distinguish between the wise and the wicked like that,’ he protested. For him it explained the high-handed arrogance he’d experienced among religious people.
I invite you to read Psalm 1 now. Certainly it declines a world view that declares everyone and everything as ‘nice’. Equally note how it does not definitively announce who is wise (or ‘happy’) and who is wicked – rather it simply depicts the difference, and indeed warns that the contrast may turn out to be stark. It urges us all not to drift like flotsam on water or be blown by the wind, but to settle very intentionally in one place: in the word of the Lord. We are urged to plant ourselves there like a tree beside a stream, and to grow our roots deep and our trunk strong. Here is the secret to prayerful, confident discipleship: to ‘drink’ from God and God’s word, 24-7. That will help us to grow securely wherever we are planted: indeed – far from high-handed arrogance – to be a source to others of faith, and flourishing, and fruitfulness.