It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Mobile Home, a Reflection on Psalm 16

The Wesley Study Bible describes Psalm 16 as a refugee's song. And certainly the Scriptures contain many stories of refugees--some voluntary but most involuntary. Think about what would be important to you if you lost your home or even your nation, if you had to leave behind so much of what had been familiar, what had seemed to be necessary. Then imagine praying this psalm.

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you."

I've lost what I was used to, what I thought I had to have, but I still have what is really important.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

I can still rely on God for guidance.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.

I can give up reliance on the familiar or the false. I can rejoice that I can rely on the Lord.

You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fulness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Commentators suggest several settings for this psalm as well as nomads like Abraham and Moses or fugitives like Jacob or exiles like those transported by the Assyrians or Babylonians, or the to-be-King David after one of his escapes. For example, the psalm could express the relief of someone surviving a near-death experience. This week, since the lectionary has paired the psalm with the story of Elisha's accepting the call to be Elijah's successor, we can think of him--leaving his family and occupation behind to start a mission fraught with danger. Elisha can be joyful as he follows the path that the Lord shows him. Note: use path as a literal and metaphorical term.

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