Friday, August 18, 2006

Pairings We Don't Make Naturally

Scripture--and worship which flows from it--heaps images upon images. One result is pairing things that make no sense (e.g., I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain [Hebrews 5.6]).

Hebrew poetry, of which the Psalms are perhaps best known, was fond of expressing things in pairs. Such as:

On Zion sinners are in dread,
trembling grips the impious;
"Who us can live with the consuming fire?
Who of us can live with the everlasting flames?"
[Isaiah 33.14]

The temptation is to read quickly "correcting" the useless repetition. However, reading slowly--moving one's lips helps--allows us absorb what God desires to communicate at a given time.

This morning one pairing moved me:

The poor when they see it [praising God with one's life] will be glad
and God-seeking hearts will revive.

The ancient separation between the needy and God-seekers is probably more contemporary than we think. In ancient Israel down to Jesus' day, the poor were poor because of some trespass somewhere in their genealogy, and similarly were the diseased. Jesus dispelled that notion in deed and in word: Jesus associated with "the least" ones!

Jesus invites God-seekers to hold dear the needy and to demonstrate that concern as each one is able. That is true worship; joy for the poor ones; life for the comfortable; and the beginning of reconciliation for today.

No comments: