Thursday, July 29

Response to Psalm 23

Responding to Psalm 23

When the darkness comes
And your enemies attack
Faithful love is there

When I started to do my artwork (#nojudging but you have no idea how much I wish I didn't make the tree in the corner) this morning, I was listening to The Daily from the NY Times. This is a podcast that does an in depth analysis of a single news story. Today's story, as I contemplated Psalm 23, was the case of Sudan killing unarmed protesters. It sounded horrible. Monitoring social media, they saw where protesters were gathering, they closed off the area, and started killing them. This is the military that has taken rule since they deposed the previous leader--which the protesters were in favor of. However, the protesters did not expect a military rule that was like, "Uh, in two years we'll take a vote." "Make that three years…" And, working in the military is the dude who organized the genocide.

That is the valley of the shadow of death.

How do we trust statements that promises everything will be all right if we just follow God when things such as the Sudan and Darfur occur? Or when people are born with congenital heart defects that lead to death? There is no overflowing cup that seems present in that situation.

Perhaps the Psalm is not about abundance and riches, but about faithful Love's guidance and presence. That no matter how hard the journey is, faithful loving-kindness, however you define that, will be there all the days of our lives.

Even that statement can be problematic. Recognizing faithful loving-kindness as present in our lives when it seems all around us are set to destroy us is a privileged position. Maybe we need to extend this to not just seeing this love to being this love, especially for those who experience marginalization and harm.

That's the world I want to live in!

Watercolor painting of a riverbank
The Shadow of Life: A Watercolor Painting by Terri Stewart


  • “How do we trust statements that promises everything will be all right if we just follow God when things such as the Sudan and Darfur occur?”

    My answer: you don’t. With all due respect, you are engaging in the kind of mental contortions all theodicies entail when attempting to “justify the ways of God To man” just to save appearances. IOW gas-lighting, denying the evidence of your own senses and the conclusions of your own reason.

    • As you know, that is a modernist perspective that I don’t share. The evidence of my senses and reason lead me to different conclusions. Because you felt gaslighted by the church does not mean that I feel gaslighted by the Divine. I feel a connection with all that is and I label that God in my conversation or label as Christ or label as Love or label as the Cosmic Connection. All labels fall short and only point the way.

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