Below is the first of what hopefully will be many discussions on Psalm 1. Please feel encouraged to participate by commenting on this topic either here on the blog or our FB page.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The image here of a tree stands out for many reasons, but first it is important to point out that the man being referred to in this Psalm is Christ. He is blessed. He is the Law and upon the Law does He unceasingly mediate, much like we are called to do in our prayers.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers. What is a tree, but a strong foundation which gives us refuge and brings forth nourishment so that we may live? What is a tree, but that which reaches up to the heavens, much like the columns of a church, symbolizing that Heaven and Earth are joined together here and now?
And His fruit shall be made known. When shall it be made known? How does the Tradition of the Church show us that this is so? What is the fruit spoken of here?
Let’s examine the Theophany icon. Christ’s nature becomes known to us when the Holy Spirit descends (and later at Transfiguration, a voice from the Heavens declares “Behold my Son.”) Look at Christ, standing upright in the water, which is eternally blessed. He is strong and firm. He is solid in His foundation and soon to be the One who will give us our daily bread as nourishment for both body and soul. He is our refuge, as we become His fruits through His teachings. He is the True Vine and we are the branches. If we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit, to the glory of the Father (see John 15: 1-8).
We too can become blessed. The Psalmist shows us that just as blessedness can be attained by doing deeds, it can also be achieved by what we do not do. For by not walking, standing, or sitting (all things which we simply must do throughout the course of the day) with the ungodly and those who would scorn righteousness, we can begin our life-giving journey with Christ. We can be members of the life-giving tree. Let us therefore remain steadfast in prayer and in meditating upon the Scriptures, so that we may be firmly planted in Christ.