Thursday, December 08, 2011

Second Thursday of Advent

I love you, O LORD, my
The LORD is my rock, my
          fortress, and my
    my God, my rock in whom
          I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of
          my salvation, my
I will call upon the LORD, who is
          worthy to be praised,
    so I shall be saved from
          my enemies.
                 Psalm 18:1-3

When you pray, when you 'call upon the Lord,' what do names, titles, honorifics do you use to address God?  One of the early phrases I can remember hearing is 'omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God.'  Or how about 'Ground of All Being'?  How about 'Ineffable Majesty'?  Pretty theological, aren't they (and I mean that in the heaviest sense)!

But the psalmists don't usually by into that sort of language.  A lot of times it is simply Lord, or God, or O God.  But then they go on with a pretty rich and diverse vocabulary to speak of God.  In this psalm alone, God is praised for being one's rock, a fortress, deliverer.  Words from everyday language, words which describe things we see (or don't see because we are not paying attention) every day.  Words which spoke of God being as close as that rock you sat on while resting, so strong that the greatest force cannot tear it down.

We have a real poverty of God-language these days, it seems to me.  Much of the way we talk about God, or use to pray to God, is tasteless, anemic, saltless.  We could use new words, new images, new metaphors to speak of God, just as the psalmists did so long ago. 

What about God as Breadmaker, taking those simple items found in creation (and in our pantries) to shape the bread of hope, of life?  What about God as Dog Walker, noticing all we notice, listening to our conversation with a neighbor, laughing as we chase after things blown in the wind, gently correcting us and showing us the paths that are safest for us?  Ever think of God as Creation's Witness, Jesus as Wave Walker, the Spirit as Dancing Flames?

Why not spend some time thinking about what imaginative, new words you might use as you pray to God and call upon the Lord?

(c) 2011  Thom M. Shuman

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