Friday, September 11, 2009

Militaristic Love Imagery in the Psalms

I was struck by one of today's readings from the Psalms (I'm using Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime): "The human mind and heart are a mystery; but God will loose an arrow at them and suddenly they will be wounded" Psalm 64:7. My mind immediately conjured up an image of Cupid, not usually one I associate with God. Of course, our modern depiction of Cupid as a cute, chubby cherub of love developed much later than the Psalms.

What a strange image, God as archer, the heart struck by God's arrow, the heart that must be wounded.

Let me read the whole thing.

This Psalm is one of the ones that promises that evil will be punished, that God will bring the evildoer low. So, it's not a cupid-like image at all, when you read the whole Psalm. It's much more a hunting image, God hunting the wicked.

I liked the single verse more before I read the whole Psalm. Ah yes, the importance of context, something I learned early on as an English major.

Interesting too, to read a Psalm of vengeance on Sept. 11. I much prefer the day-of-service approach to commemorating the day.

I won't be serving my community alas. I will be going to meetings where we will discuss things which will probably be unimportant in the long term. I need a Bible verse that will take me through that. One of my friends meditates on the 23rd Psalm to take her through sleepless nights. Maybe I'll try that approach today.

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