Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Psalm 25:1-10

Advent 1 - Year C

Psalm 25:1-10

This is almost an acrostic psalm. Problem is, two letters are missing and two doubled. Likely this reflects changes it has undergone in its transmission. If so, what is an originalist, a literalist, to do?

One thing available with the broken pattern is for us to be open to more than appears. So, to begin, read the whole psalm. Then focus in on verses 6 & 7 and mindfulness. What do you want remembered and what do you not want remembered?

In these we find out more about ourselves and G*D. In this interplay wisdom comes as we let go what we want remembered and come to terms with that which we do not want remembered.

Advent comes as a time to remember and not remember a prior event. We keep learning the wrong things about our heritage and forgetting right things about it. Advent can be a time of clarifying our previous encounters with G*D.

Advent also comes as a time to anticipate and resist a next coming. Here, too, we project unhelpful behaviors into the future and hold back new responses to repeated situations. Advent can be a time of being open to a next encounter that will dash our previous limits.

Aren't you glad this is an imperfect psalm? It leaves room for you to play with it and make it your own, just like those who cut it for Advental purposes. For instance the word translated as "mercy" in verse 6 might better be translated "motherly compassion" [The New Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 4, p. 778]. This anticipates the central verse 11 with its emphasis upon pardon of iniquity. If we were to view the whole psalm we might find our Advent work to be thankful for iniquities pardoned and to practice to be ready to motherly and preemptively pardon those who "iniquitize" against ourself or another or themselves.

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