An Easter Psalm?

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We pray psalm 51 every Friday. At first I didn't much like it, I have grown to love it, to embrace it as my own emblem. Even so, until this morning I didn't realize the overtones of Easter that could be gleaned from it.

The verse I cited in the prayer requests below put me in mind of it.

"Make me hear rejoicing and gladness,
that the bones you have drushed may revive.
From my sins turn away your face
and blot out all my guilt."

I know it is a stretch, but reading this I thought of Jesus. Technically his bones were not crushed (this is important because it fulfills another prophecy) but if we read "crushed bones" as a metaphor for death, we can hear--

"Let me hear rejoicing
that the one who was dead has risen. . ."

That is emphatically NOT what it says, nor is it even a valid interpretation, it is instead what was suggested to me as I read it. And the couplet below sustains it.

"From my sins turn away your face
and blot out all my guilt."

Indeed it was in this death and resurrection that this became a possibility. This ultimate sacrifice did away with all need for sacrifice so that later we read,

"For in sacrifice you take no delight,
burnte offering from me you would refuse."

No, God did not delight in the sacrifices of old, nor in the necessary and healing sacrifice of His only Son. These did away with all need for sacrifice. But what the Father wants:

"my sacrifice, a contrite spirit,
A humbled contrite heart you will not spurn."

No longer is there need of ritual bloody sacrifices to cleanse us of sins and impurities. Rather we have the holy sacrifice of Mass and of our own selfishness and self-will recognized in the sacrament of reconciliation which puts us right before God.

More overtones or suggestions of the glorious triumph of Jesus occur elsewhere.

"A pure heart creat for me, O God,"

Once again, a creation from the cross.

"put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit."

In the times before Christ the Holy Spirit rested on a few. The sacrifice of Jesus released the Spirit into the whole world so that no one ever need be "cast away from God's presence." If we are absent, it is because we choose to be so. And what more steadfast spirit is there than the Holy Spirit?

Once again, I will readily acknowledge this isn't exegesis. It isn't even an accurate rendering of the text or of the multiplicity of meaning in the words. But as I prayed these words this morning, it seemed my eyes were opened to these Easter possibilities.

Perhaps we should read all of scripture, Old Testament and New, with Easter eyes, looking always for the signs of our Lord the traces of him, the half-hidden images that are always there ready to speak to us. Perhaps we should address all of creation with Easter eyes--we would be surprised and perhaps moved to thanksgiving by what we would see.

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as some of my protestant kin are fond of sayin'? careful not to get involved in too much exegisis 'er you just might ex-uh Jesus raht outta the equation!




About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 23, 2004 6:44 AM.

Prayer Requests 4/23/04 was the previous entry in this blog.

A Correction to Yesterday's Definition is the next entry in this blog.

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