25 August 2020: Utu belongs to God.

Utu is a useful Maori word. It means Vengeance, recompense. In tribal times, accounts were kept and recited of the wrongs that this nation or that had done to the tribe, and these were seen as a justification for war. War was in part for honour, but more for acquiring land, for land meant food, and food meant survival.

But Christ change that. The tribes left vengeance to God. For they knew there was but one God. For all nations.

Deuteronomy 32:28-39

28 “For they are a nation void of counsel,
and there is no understanding in them.
29 If they were wise, they would understand this;
they would discern their latter end!
30 How could one have chased a thousand,
and two have put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
and the Lord had given them up?
31 For their rock is not as our Rock;
our enemies are by themselves.
32 For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
and from the fields of Gomorrah;
their grapes are grapes of poison;
their clusters are bitter;
33 their wine is the poison of serpents
and the cruel venom of asps.
34 “‘Is not this laid up in store with me,
sealed up in my treasuries?
35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
for the time when their foot shall slip;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
and their doom comes swiftly.’
36 For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants,
when he sees that their power is gone
and there is none remaining, bond or free.
37 Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods,
the rock in which they took refuge,
38 who ate the fat of their sacrifices
and drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you;
let them be your protection!
39 “‘See now that I, even I, am he,
and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

For those like me, who don’t speak Russian, here is a translation.

This song of praise flies like a bird through the sky
My life is like a river, my heart flows, and my soul sings for you
This song of praise is like a creek in the spring
I breathe in the aroma of love

The ocean of God’s love
There is no start or finish to it
The ocean of God’s love
The gracious love of our Father

Romans 11:33-36

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counsellor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory for ever. Amen.

May the glory of God sustain us. To the end of our course. He will cause recompense, in this world, but that is not our issue. Ours is to be faithful. This is the final benediction, from the final sermon John Donne preached.

There we leave you in that blessed dependency, to hang upon him that hangs upon the cross, there bathe in his tears, there suck at his wounds, and lie down in peace in his grave, till he vouchsafe you a resurrection, and an ascension into that kingdom which He hath prepared for you with the inestimable price of his incorruptible blood. Amen.

One thought on “25 August 2020: Utu belongs to God.

  1. Well said. I gave The Mrs. a (theoretical!) example of where I could pop some utu against someone, and she reminded me that was bad business – says it will get taken care of more completely if I don’t.

    She’s right. Again.

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