Thought for the Day: Yesterday, I did an online Bible Study and Prayer Time. Besides a few glitches, my hope was to connect people with the beauty of these opening words from Psalm 23. Too often we breeze right past these words without allowing the necessary time to absorb what is being suggested. In the ancient world, gods were associated with bulls, a warrior, a dragon-like creature, an eagle or even a three headed beast. Especially as you went against other tribes and their gods, the hope was to present your understanding of the holy as powerful and intimidating, and of course, on your side. So when the Israelites spoke of their God as a shepherd, there was a shocking shift in people’s perception. I’ve always wondered if the growing monotheistic aspect of ancient Jewish religion (it was a transition over a period of time) no longer required an image of the divine that was fierce or terrifying. If we are not feeling the need to put our God against the other gods, because there is just one God, then I can begin to explore and gain a deeper appreciation of who God is. If I can trust God to be God, and I don’t have to defend my understanding of this Holy Other against some warring faction, then I can release much of what is a rather shallow protectionist thinking and begin experiencing and thriving in images like that of a shepherd or a life-giving stream or guy born to a poor family who was executed on a cross for teaching love. That’s a whole different take on God.
Prayer: Continue to present to me images and metaphors that provide a window into your glory, O God. Allow for these hints of you to explode with beautiful new meaning and extraordinary revelation. This I pray in the name of your enfleshed revelation, Jesus. Amen.
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