Psalm 10 addresses a God whose attention can wander.
1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—
let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
3 For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart,
those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord.
4 In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, ‘God will not seek it out’;
all their thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’
We might say that this God has not yet achieved perfect surveillance.
The Psalmist goes on to describe all the violence and oppression that’s going on in the shadows, under the cover of darkness, rampant and seemingly unstoppable.
On Sunday morning we talked about where in our society we might wish for surveillance. Who is getting away with injustice? What do we wish were “caught on camera”? Where are there dark places we want a light to shine?
In Psalm 10, the Psalmist doesn’t just long for the unblinking eye of the camera. When God sees, it’s not just a matter of getting actions caught on record. When God sees, God acts.
14 But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,
that you may take it into your hands;
the helpless commit themselves to you;
you have been the helper of the orphan.
While surveillance in our social context often has an assumption of distance and sterility, in the Psalms God’s seeing means that God is intimately involved in the world, in a deeply compassionate way.
On Sunday morning we talked about the “sit-lie” law in Spokane and the ways in which how we see others affects our judgments and actions.
Perhaps you’ve heard the poem attributed to Teresa of Avila:
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good
In what ways are we God’s surveillance cameras in the world? Not just blank faces, but involved, compassionate encounters with injustice? What does seeing involve?