A reflection on Ps 61 from the 9.13.2011 lectionary readings: Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36
1 Kings 21:17-29; 1 Cor. 1:20-31; Matt. 4:12-179.13.11.
I love the bunny trails we find ourselves on when the Holy Spirit is truly animating our lives. Today the Holy Spirit took hold of my mind and connected some dots that had been floating about since attending a lecture yesterday. What a difference it made in my readings of the psalms this morning – context, again rearing it’s beautiful, God-designed head!
So here’s the bunny trail…hear a lecture that is speaking to theology – what it is, how we do it, how it is distinguished from FAITH.
FAITH is what motivates, animates, our God talk – our theologies (which in turn, determine our doctrines and how we live our FAITH). In that lecture was an exploration of the metaphor ‘wrestling with God’ depicted throughout scripture, but most vividly in the story of Jacob, then named, Israel. I reread Jacob’s story last night from his birth to the wrestling with God BEFORE he could reconcile with his family…and in reading it I noted that at birth, Easu and Jacob were, of course distinguished – one hairy, one not, one covered in blood at birth, one not, etc…but what jumped out was that while Esau followed his father’s dream to work outdoors, in nature, if you will, Jacob resided ‘in the tent’….indoors, considered, perhaps, a more contemplative place:
Genesis 25:27 27 ¶ When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.
Which all leads me to today’s ps and there it is again – the reference to the tent
Psalm 61:4 4 Let me abide in your tent forever, find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
And while I know the ‘tent’ is referred to throughout scripture both literally and metaphorically, this morning’s whisper from the Holy Spirit has me asking, how odd that God is found, refuge is found, indoors and not in the great wide wilderness popular culture so reveres today – elevates above and beyond any human made structure meant to worship (not box) our God? It is such a contrast – again – to today’s understanding of where to go for refuge, for peace, for quiet but for God’s voice. So many of us run to the wilderness and out of and away from the tent, it seems.
And on top of wondering about this as an issue that might be helpful in getting a better understanding of why so many are fleeing ‘church’, another question arises. Had I not heard the lecture that prompted me to understand better the ‘wrestling with God’ metaphor, I wouldn’t have reread Jacob’s story and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have had the chance to tickle my fancy about tents and outdoors, and I wouldn’t have read Ps 61 in the same way this morning…and, and, and….on it goes….Praise God.