Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Psalm 23

Lent 4 - Year A

Psalm 23

This psalm is usually intoned, schmaltzed, cadenced, slowed. There are easily recognizable connections with water and sheep to parallel the water used to wash muddy spit off and to honor the scut job of shepherding, given to the least powerful.

It is in considering these other passages that raises the possibility of other reading styles. Would being blind from birth and now seeing turn into a dirge-like unison reading? Trying to figure out what all this new visual data means would be similar to the uncomprehending stare of a new-born. A querulous waver in one’s voice might well be appropriate. Yes, these verses are statements, but huge stories lie behind each one. It is appropriate to wonder not only at this present moment, but be a bit confused about interpreting the past and anticipating the future.

Presuming sighted privilege we might want to try reading this while skipping. “I can see, I can see” rhythms with periodic bursts of laughter, might be another presentation.

Were you Samuel, you might start off with Eliab’s stature and triumphantly blast this psalm. As Samuel went through each of presented sons, with less and less assurance, would he just hold onto the psalm with a hope against hope as each rejected prospect comes and goes. What happens to this psalm when it is repeated five or six times in a discouraging situation? When shepherd David comes along where does this psalm go? for surely it does not simply circle back to its triumphant beginning.

Blessings on finding an appropriate tone for your own life as well as that of a congregation, nation, world.

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