This evenings finds me with two beautiful psalms: 22 and 23. I don’t know why it hasn’t really dawned on me the power in placing these two rich, evocative texts alongside each other. Psalm 22 with it’s Good Friday shadows: “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me” with “The Lord is my shepherd…even though I walk through the darkest valley…the valley of the shadow of death.” (Yes, the King James is so much better here I think). The shadow of Psalm 22 is present, acknowledged within 23. Maybe it anchors it…maybe it somehow makes it real…more than nice fluffy sheep next to still waters. Life isn’t like that.
Life seeks meaning in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death…hope and promise.
That’s why there’s this wonderful word in the text…this one crucial pivot…this moment. It comes in Psalm 22 NRSV:
“My God, my God, why have you
Why are you so far from
helping me, from the
words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you
do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.”
Yet, you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.”
There it is, this pivotal word…yet. Acknowledging our shadow…our suffering….AND turning to look at the source of our hope.
I love the way Norman Fischer describes it:
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
Why so far from my delivery
So empty in the anguish of my words?
I call to you in the daytime but you don’t answer
And all night long I plead restlessly, uselessly
I know your holiness, find it in the memorized praises
Uttered by those who’ve struggled with you
Through all the generations
These, my forebears, trusted you
And through their trusting you touched them.”
These are marvelous words….