Monday Psalm 23:5 You Prepare a Table before me
So far, Psalm 23 has taught us a great deal about God and about ourselves as humans. Psalm 23:1-2 teaches us that God’s relationship to creation, including humanity is one of giving, and providing. God graciously creates and provide the pastures and waters that are the conduit of his peace and his restoration of us as his servant-children. Psalm 23:3 teaches us that to follow God (Christ) is to advocate for justice, to side with the marginalized. Psalm 23:4 openly admits that our participation in God mission of creating and giving will lead us to trials. If we are truly following God, we will be the David to the Goliath that is violence, war, poverty, racism, and the brokenness of humanity. It challenges us because it clearly suggests that right relationship with God necessarily involves the risk and sometimes painful experience of having our faith, our beliefs, and even our sense of self, challenged and changed by our relationship with the poor and eye-opening experience of learning about the trials they face and the systems that oppress. If we have not accepted these risks, can we accurately call ourselves disciples of the living God.
Psalm 23:5 circles us back around to God’s gracious providence once again. If we have taken the risk of the path of justice/righteousness, what we loose, will be restored. To be invited to the table of the Lord is to regain the honor and status that was lost to us, or denied us as we became the brothers and sisters of the poor, the abused, the downtrodden. The path to the Lord’s table is not paved with personal piety, the acceptance of orthodox christian concepts, or ‘belief.’ It is paved with the intentional actions of mercy, justice, service, sacrifice and reconciliation. The feast table of God represents the land of canaan that Israel eventually reached after many years of sojourn, which was dangerous and costly. It represents the bread that Elijah miraculously provided for the widow of Zarephath, who could not feed her family due to the neglectful and abusive political powers. So the table represents both God’s gift of safety and security for those who have struggled and suffered and sacrificed in God’s name, and it represents God’s honoring of and active care for those who ‘loose their life’ so that others may have life.
Those who dignify those who are denied dignity will be honored by God. Those who care for the ignored will be in turn, provided for abundantly by God. It’s easy to talk about God’s everlasting love and care, but what do we say/do for those who, having never experienced that love, have doubts?