Through the Bible in a Year – January 4

The Scheme for January and February can be found here

Genesis 8-9; John 4; Psalm 7

Two days ago I commented in passing on the habit of editing the Psalms to suit our sensibilities, swathed in cotton wool as many of us are, never thinking it possible we would find ourselves in a position where we might in desperate need call down curses on those who come against us. The Psalms are prayers for All of Life. Today’s though faces us with something which I suggest ought to be far more troubling to us. How in truth dare we pray ‘O Lord my God . . . if there is wrong in my hands . . . then let my enemy pursue, overtake me and trample my life to the ground and my soul to the dust . . .’ Strangely we have not excised this from our psalters

Praying the Psalms as with all prayer is not just about, or even not primarily about calling on God to change things, rather if we pray attentively we cannot but find that We must change. The Psalms throughout speak with searing clarity and not a hint of hypocrisy of The upright, The Just, Those of integrity. As with the serious grandeur which our Genesis readings confront us – these prayers call us to a fuller and deeper humanity and repentance.

A necessary repentance – for as we see, God has wiped the slate clean, but he still works with the same raw material of fallen humanity, whose ‘heart is inclined towards evil from youth’. We do not need Augustine to ‘devise’ original sin. It is there, in the new humanity as in the old. And humanities Choice, to Know Good and Evil is revealed to be terrible in its effects.

Noah is found naked and drunk – in the aftermath he takes the fullness of the divine image upon himself, to Bless, and to Curse – from one family, the people’s are divided.

Yet One comes who joins together in himself those so divided. The deadly enemies, Samaritans and Jews – those who pray these ancient prayers – are joined into one in the encounter of the woman at the well with the Lord of Life. Deep archetypes – Male and Female – Life giving. Look! The fields are ripe for harvesting!

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