“the Lord is enthroned as King forever” Psalm 29In an airport, a friend of mine and I were charmed by the members of a high school choir returning from San Francisco, where they had sung at a number of places, ate fortune cookies and sourdough bread, and did, they said, all kinds of other fun things. Coming home, they were both tired and pumped, as only high school kids can be.
And they were remarkably talkative. We asked some young women if the whole bunch had been good. They said yes, except for some boys—“but you know how guys are.” We asked them if there were any romances. Only one.
“Maybe that’s okay,” I quipped. “After all, it’s probably good not too many of you left your hearts in San Francisco.”
They half-smiled at the old guy. Okay, it wasn’t a line that would land me a job writing comedy, but I was trying to be cute.
My friend, a guy half my age, looked at me and winced. “I don’t think they got that one,” he said.
I felt like donating myself to antiquity.
My guess is that once I get really old (there’s some irony in that line), I’ll be better adjusted to the thud my jokes create. It never dawned on me that those kids might not know a song I thought imprinted on the American psyche. I simply assumed we shared a world.
I remember precisely the last time I played basketball. I was pushing thirty. That night, I took a pass from a guard, came across the lane as pumped as those high school kids, went up off my left foot to take a kind of baby hook. But something strange happened. My body, like a sandbag, didn’t respond. My mind had me swooping through the air. My body had no notion of the same. I never got on the court again.
That’s the way I felt that day at the gate. The quip never got off the ground, even though it never dawned on me that it would do anything but score.
Finiteness is something I’m coming to understand far better as I get older. I know it physically, and have for a long time. I know it mentally—words don’t come as easily. I know it culturally; my jokes are starting to land as flat as my grandfather’s. I know it generationally; my college students say things I simply don’t understand, the way my own parents once didn’t understand me.
I don’t have the power to bend my mind around the word “forever.” But I know what David aims to tell us in this verse: that God’s knees don’t buckle. He doesn’t forget where he parked his car and hasn’t nodded off when he shouldn’t have.
He was—and he is—King of creation. He is infinite. He is forever.
That high school choir a couple of years ago offered a couple hundred fellow passengers something of their estimable repertoire as we sat, just a little bit later, on the tarmac and waited for a thundershower to pass, as God almighty held us in his hands, as he has, and does, and will. It was beautiful, one of the finest concerts I’d ever heard because it was so unexpected.
The Lord is enthroned as King forever, David says. His kingdom was, and is, and forever shall be—world without end. Amen.
Not to be forgotten, ever, in sunshine or rain. Always fresh, always always.