1 The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
3 Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
7 He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift his head high.
I’ll never forget the time when I first learned how to sit.
My yoga instructor had us sit on a pile of blankets and move the flesh away from our “sit bones,” cross one leg over the other, and sit up tall. He pointed out that when yoga was first developed, people didn’t need to learn movement or action because they worked all day. What yogis needed was to learn how to sit.
We now live in a world in which sitting is not only the norm, it’s probably going to kill you. But even if we physically know how to put our butts in a chair, we don’t really know how to sit.
We simply don’t do stillness very well. We associate sitting with passivity, even though “sit” is a verb. And it’s actually a skill that needs to be cultivated.
Here’s a crazy thought exercise: if you believe in Jesus, what do you think he’s doing RIGHT NOW? According to the psalm today, Jesus is sitting at God’s right hand, while God humbles his enemies and establishes his kingdom for him. According to Paul’s letter to the Romans, Jesus is “at the right hand of God also interceding for us.” And according to the author of Hebrews, Jesus “always lives to intercede for [us].” So right this second, Jesus is sitting next to God, praying for you and for me.
Here’s another crazy thought exercise: if we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we are seated in the heavenly realms with him. What does that even mean? How do we learn, like I did in my yoga studio, how to sit?
I’ve already written more than I probably will ever need to (or you’ll want to read) about being out of work and how it changed me. I went from being someone constantly on the go to someone who is writing an essay about the glories of sitting. And yet I am still surprised by the franticness and fruitlessness of all my doing. Those months of being out of work were my “Martha moment” in which Jesus graciously reminded me that there was something better. And that I was missing out on it.
The part of me that tends toward overachievement hears “better” and assumes gold stars and brownie points. I immediately go into planning mode, forgetting that here Jesus isn’t talking about As or Fs. He’s talking about prioritizing what is actually life-giving.
What was great about my yoga teacher is that if he was going to have us get into a pose, he would do it first himself, then come around each of us to help do it too. He would have us watch him before attempting the pose, so that we could see how it should be done.
If Jesus is sitting at God’s right hand praying, then is that something I should be doing?
Like an overzealous yoga student, I want to start getting into the pose even though I don’t really know how to do it yet. Because if I’m honest, sitting and praying doesn’t feel like much. It feels very well…passive.
In other words my first inclination is not to take my seat and talk to God like Jesus does, because at least spinning my wheels gives the illusion of movement. That wheel-spinning is not life-giving. It’s not going to bear any fruit. It will just make me frantic.
Sigh. I can’t even sit still and pray unless God helps me to do that.
Here’s another crazy thought exercise: what if Jesus is praying for me right now, to be able to sit and be in communion with God? What if Jesus already prayed that? And what would happen if I joined my prayers with his for the same thing?
The great news is that Jesus really did pray that. Would you sit down and join me in praying this prayer as well?
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:20-26)