The Pastor, as I have said read Psalm 90 at Polly Freeman’s funeral. It is worth the effort to meditate on this Psalm no matter what your age. Luther wrote –
“Until I realized how seriously and urgently Moses prayed in this passage, I didn’t understand that we should ask God to teach us to number our days. I thought everyone was just as afraid of death as I was.
“However, out of ten thousand people, only ten might believe that numbering their days is important. The rest of the masses of people live as if God doesn’t exist and death doesn’t occur.
“But this isn’t the worst part. Some people who are about to die imagine that they’ll go on living. Others, overwhelmed by misery, still dream of happiness. Still others, who are in extreme danger, foolishly think they’re totally secure. Their delusion is the saddest part of all.”
Delusion. A delusion used to be sign of a mental disorder but in this crazy world folks are encouraged in their delusions as if they are rights. Not only is there an illusion from the delusion of long life but of life lived as your “best self”. You get to choose the best self. Look around and ask how that is working.
Silly attempts to deny mortality are precisely the sort of delusions that the psalm prays against when it begs in verse 12, “Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” What is a wise heart? One that refuses human attempts at self-deception and self-justification. One that paradoxically implores the very God who says to us, “turn back, you mortals!” (verse 3) to, in turn, “Turn…. Have compassion on your servants!” (verse 13).
Polly lived to 100. Very impressive. For the most part she was healthy and as we used say, “given ample time to relent and trust in the grace given in Jesus”. Being taught by God to number our days should not be lessons taught only to “seasoned citizens” but to everyone.