Wednesday, April 12, 2006

22 or 23?

Heading into Easter this year I have been absorbed, for some weeks now, by the fact that as Jesus hung on the cross we read that he reached for Psalm 22:1, rather than Psalm 23:1...

It was "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?"

It was NOT (as far as we know) "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall lack nothing ... Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me."

nice chatting

Paul

5 comments:

Jane said...

Paul-
profound observation.

This speaks to me of the wonder of the multitude of voices in scripture. There is always a voice that resonates-
from “bless the Lord oh my soul” to “why have you forsaken me”;
from “repent and turn from your wickedness” to “the Lord has compassion on his people”;
from “life is utterly meaningless” to “this is what life is about.”

Wherever I turn, the gritty realities of life, our response, and God's response to us are there.

And somehow I feel vindicated that even Jesus had occasion to cry, “My God my God, why have you abandoned me...”

Paul Windsor said...

yes, Jane I think your phrase - "there is always a voice that resonates" - does capture something of what impacts me about the Bible. It is a divine book, but it is also just so human as well.

Tim said...

It's also true that (like other "complaint psalms") Ps 22 ends with more confidence than it starts. I specially love the way this psalm ends:
"People not yet born will be told,
'The Lord has saved us!'
"

From it's beginning:
"My God, my God, why have you deserted me?
Why are you so far away?
Won't you listen to my groans and come to my rescue?

that Jesus' quotes on the cross for us, we end with salvation for all generations (nb. v.27)! (By way of Israel and justice for the poor too, see vv. 23 & 26.)

Maybe that's why the "servant king" chose 22 not 23, which can risk sounding like a "me" psalm!

Paul Windsor said...

What a stunning observation, Tim
I have never noticed those last couple of phrases at the end of Psalm 22.

Tim said...

To me it's not so much the last couple of lines alone, but the whiole psalm and its movement, it is a typical "complaint", and as such it moves from firmly stating what is wrong, to a "faith based" conclusion.

And I like the way the psalm moves. The complaint that Jesus quotes moves through an affirmation of tradition and roots (vv.3-4):
Yet you are the holy God,
  ruling from your throne and praised by Israel.
Our ancestors trusted you,
  and you rescued them.

through a reaffirmation and sharpening of the complaint (vv.6-8), and a lovely (christmassy) recognition of personal relationship (vv.9-10), through the complaint and plea again to the triumphant ending! The whole story of the Passion of the Christ is there, even through Easter till today "People not yet born will be told, "The Lord has saved us!"

That whole is way greater than the sum of its parts...