In my limited reading about psalm 15 this week, there are a few things that pop out to me. My mind went to what Lutheran's tend to think of as "Law and Gospel." If one were to categorize this psalm into one of the two of these, it would likely be "Law." Law is not a bad thing. It is not as if it is "Bad New and Good News," rather we are made free through the law, but how so?
The first verse is a question: Lord, who may enter your tent? Who, indeed? The answer is a decologue of commands or admonitions directing the way of the one who wishes to enter the tent. Let's list them out, for fun:
1- Those who walk blamelessly and do what is right
2- Those who speak the truth from their heart
3- Those who don't slander
4- Those who don't do bad things to their friends
5- Those who don't stir up beef with their neighbors
6- Those who despise the wicked
7- Those who honor people who fear God
8- Those who keep their word, even when it hurts
9- Those who don't lend money with interest
10- Those who don't bribe or deceive the innocent
There are ten. Good number. Sound familiar? When we sing this psalm, we sing these commands and who among us can sing this without being guilty of not being the kind of person who can enter the tabernacle? Being a part of community, being the "chosen" of God comes with dire responsibility. It is enough that God has called his people, but they must listen to this calling and this involves sacrifice. His people have been given a law as salvation and much of that law concerns our relationship with the community.
Think about the list and consider how many of these concern our relationship with others. That alone is enough argument for a deeper sense of who we are as a community. We are a broken community. How do we enter the tent of God if we cannot abide by the law that God gives us?
Jesus is our once and for all sacrifice for sin and in him is the fulfillment of the law. This makes sense with the I Corinthians reading for this week. In his own litany of questions, St. Paul lifts up our salvation as being through the cross and the one who boasts, boasts in the Lord.
As Luther would call us to do, we see Christ at the center of this psalm. He is evident in the law, its fulfillment and the grace of God outpoured in the cross. Ponder and search this great mystery that the God of all would give us such grace. May we be so bold as to give others grace this week and to be renewed in our calling through the cross in this life of grace.