Dispatch One Hundred Forty-One

Posted: April 22, 2015 in Thirty-Fourth Bundle
Tags: , , , ,

PSALM 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
    he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.

This divine shepherd in whom the psalmist found his life, peace, and hope – is this reality continuous or possibly even identical with the saving grace that later Christians found in Jesus? We must not lose sight of what is probably the central precept of religion: that the ultimate reality and divine Mystery at the heart of things is revealed to us not directly but only through the mediation of the world itself.

In his early life as a shepherd himself, David found a relevant analogy for his relationship with and dependence upon God: his deeper security, rest, salvation, and joy were visibly revealed through the otherwise ordinary realities of a shepherd’s world. The poet’s sense of God’s loving providence was not merely an abstract notion “illustrated” by some objects round about, but rather was touched and known as materialized in these meaning-laden forms of experience.

Was it wrong for the early followers of Jesus to see in him the incarnation of this self-same grace and divine power? The symbol that reveals the Mystery behind all things itself becomes incorporated into the Mystery, as one of its “names.”

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