Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. –Psalm 23.6
In our Thursday ‘Theology and Pop Culture’ gathering on Zoom, we talked about the last episode of the first season of the HBO show ‘Deadwood.’ The episode “Sold Under Sin” has a lot of moving parts to it, and I focused on two that I think have relevance for being people of faith. The first centers on the progression of the brain tumor that afflicts the Rev. Smith, his care (and the prayer to God) by Doc Cochran, and how Al Swearengen decides to ‘assist’ God in providing mercy, or an answer to Doc’s prayer. What counts as mercy?
The second centers on the conflict between political and economic interests, which comes out in the murder of the Chinese man that causes Mr. Wu to go complain to Al Swearengen. Al’s reply to Wu: “When did you start thinking every wrong had a remedy, Wu? Did you come to camp for justice, or to make your way?” frames many of our challenges in life. How do we, how does God, demand justice and seek remedy?
How we understand God’s will, God’s desire, God’s hope for us matters for our choices and our actions. Are we, like Al Swearengen says, left to find our own mercy and make our own justice? Or do we trust that, whatever the moment may be, that God will hear us, care about us, and respond. Israel’s story is walking that tightrope of looking to God for mercy and justice, and looking to create it for yourself. In this last verse from the 23rd Psalm, a psalm many look to for comfort in times of grief and loss, the hope is expressed for good fortune all the days of our lives. The hope is to dwell with God here and now, which means security and harmony here and now. It’s not always easy and it’s not always clear.
There was a particularly beautiful and hopeful ending to that episode we discussed. Jewel, using the new brace provided for her damaged leg, and Doc Cochran, drunk with anger and grief, dancing away in the Gem Saloon. Love seems to be our ability to look beyond our hurts and struggles to find something bigger, something more, something which sweeps us up and away to follow us as we dwell with God, as we dwell with one another all our days here and now.
Gathering Online: https://bit.ly/TCZoom
Tuesday Checkin on Zoom @ 6 pm
Join Thomas and Kelley on Zoom. This is a time to check-in or just say hello.
Thursday Theology & Pop Culture on Zoom @ 6 pm
Join us as we explore our faith through movies and TV shows. This week Kelley will lead the discussion, and you are invited to watch “Hard Times” from Good Omens (S1:E3), especially the first half of the episode. It is available on Amazon Prime.
Sunday Evening Prayer on Zoom @ 6 pm
Join us on Zoom for a service of prayers and scripture.