I have often thought of Psalms as the best toolbox for teaching the grammer of prayer.  But prayer is not only conversation with God but a way transformation as the Spirit imbues us with new ideas and thoughts?  In this the Psalms become also another tutor for the Christian life.

This Sunday the lectionary gives to us the gift of Psalm 146 which reminds us of the concern God shows for the marginalised and the oppressed.

I must admit that the words ‘The Lord watches over the strangers’ jumped out at me as I considered the past few weeks in Australian culture.  There has been a fairly torrid discussion around racism in the media after a somewhat ignorant heckle by a young footy fan and a gaff by an awful eminent media personality.

So often we view those who are different from us as strangers and I think lurking behond the lawayer’s question to Jesus in Luke ‘who is my nieghbour?’ is another more insidious question – ‘who can I treat as strangers?’  As if somehow we can treat those who are not nieghbours differently, as lesser.

The Psalm reminds us that regardless of whom we think of as strangers God watches over them, just as God watcehs over us.  If God watches over such ‘strangers’ can we knowingly then treat the so-called stranger in any other fashion except as honoured by God?  

Should we take the approach that strangers are really just friends I have yet to meet and know?  How might that transform how any of us approach people who are different to ourselves?  And in the end is there really a them when we are all God’s creatures together?