Grace to you
Over the past two weeks we have reflected on the radical resistance story found in the book of Esther. We tasted early on that it is marinated in masculine entitlement and further sauced with religious, cultural, ethical and nationalistic supremacy. If we are honest, much of Scripture is marinated and sauced with both – and many since have sought to justify both as the will of God because of their prominence in scripture. Yet if we take our cue from Jesus, we will notice how he constantly subverted the marinade and sauce of the dominant class – choosing rather to salt it with a flavouring of those considered the least and lowly and left out to specifically remind us that God has no favourites.
The Psalms – as beautiful as they sound are very often extremely violent and patriarchal – perpetuating a false understanding of God that Jesus came to correct. According to Jesus God is not violent, but vulnerable. God’s purpose is to gently restore rather than vengefully destroy.
One of my favourite authors who is able to re-salt the scriptures in this Jesus-like-way is Nan Merrill. In her translation of the Psalms she replaces the militaristic patriarchy with profoundly beautiful images that remind us that our real enemy is fear within rather than foes without. This enemy within is only ever defeated through acceptance and love for only “love can cast out fear”. Here is her translation of Psalm 91 (in part):
Those who dwell in the shelter of
Who abide in the wings of
Will raise their voices in praise:
“My refuge and my strength;
In You alone will I trust.”
For You deliver me from the webs
from all that separates and divides;
You protect me as an eagle shields
Your faithfulness is sure, like
an arrow set upon the mark.
I will not fear the shadows of the night,
nor the confusion that comes
Nor the dreams that awaken me from
nor the daily changes that
Though a thousand may deride this
ten thousand laugh as I seek
to do your Will,
Yet will I surrender myself to You,
abandoning myself into your Hands
~ Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying