Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 45. (MsgB)
Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you.
Be here—the king is wild for you. Since he’s your lord, adore him.
Set your mind now on sons— don’t dote on father and grandfather. You’ll set your sons up as princes all over the earth. I’ll make you famous for generations; You’ll be the talk of the town for a long, long time.
The placement of Psalm 45 in the midst of God’s Holy Book is a wake-up call for those of us who tend to forget that Psalms is a songbook, not a textbook.
Here we are reading along in the Psalms, thinking high and lofty thoughts about our God, and wham-o, right before our eyes is a wedding song talking to a young bride as she is preparing herself to walk down the aisle. Some religious folks are so offended by that, they decide that nothing so fleshly should be in God’s Holy Book. So they take a text like Psalm 45 and say that this song is only a metaphor about our relationship with Jesus. We are the bride of Christ, they say, so we should read this Psalm through the eyes of our spiritual relationship with God’s Son. To that, I politely say “phooey.”
Here’s the problem with over-spiritualizing texts like this. God’s book was written in such a way that you and I are supposed to find God in the midst of our everyday, common lives. And as I see it, a wedding between a man and woman is about as common of an everyday occurrence as we can get. So put away the spiritual talk for a moment and let’s enjoy this wedding song for what it is. A simple song written for a young lady as she is preparing to take one of the scariest rides a person can take in life.
As a proud poppa, I’ve looked into the eyes of my two daughters as they were preparing to give their love and their lives to their future husbands. I’ve seen on their faces the intriguing combination of fear and excitement all wrapped into one. I know from experience that my own wife, Sandy, had that same question in her mind nearly 40 years ago as she prepared to walk down the aisle, giving her life and love to a goofy band director from Iowa. Do I really want to hook my life up with this guy’s life? Am I really ready to give up my freedoms and proclaim my devotion and commitment to this idiot for life? Is this safe? Is this smart? Is this…?
You see, married life is not a picnic in the park, even for the best of us. I tell young couples that are getting ready to tie the knot that they are entering into something that, quite honestly, should scare the poop out of you! Offering your life to another can be a frightening thing. And I, for one, I’m truly glad our Bible has a song in it that helps calm a bride-to-be with the fears that she just might be making the biggest mistake of her life! Now don’t tell anyone, but in all honesty, I’ve found that we guys have these same feelings as well. We look at that beautiful bride God is sending our way, gaze into the eyes of the most beautiful woman on the planet, but secretly inside, we’re saying to ourselves, “I am crazy, or what?”
So there we have it.
A Wedding Song.
One that was written to calm the fears and reassure the soul. A tune to help a bride focus on what’s really important when you’re about to make the biggest commitment of your life. And what a song it is. In the verses I’ve shared with you above, I see a wonderful God-approach to life. A song that helps a man or a woman get the real picture of what marriage is all about.
A godly marriage, you see, is a holy matrimony between one screwed-up man and one messed-up girl who simply trust in a big, big God who can work miracles through this holy union, if they are just wise enough to let Him do it. So calm down, ladies. Cool your jets, men. Enjoy the moment. Here comes the bride. Let’s enjoy this holy moment, soaking in God’s presence on this holy day.
My prayer: Thank You, Lord for the gift of song. Thank You to Paul Stookey who wrote this wedding prayer so long ago. I pray it now, in Jesus’ name…
He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts,
Rest assured this Troubadour is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits, here, has caused Him to remain,
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name,
There is Love, there is Love.
Well, a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home,
And they shall travel on to where the two shall be as one.
As it was in the beginning is now and til the end,
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.
And there is Love, there is Love.
For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where do I tend to over-spiritualize the Scriptures, taking texts that have been written to encourage me in the midst of my everyday life and put highly religious overtones to them? What freedoms might I enjoy from God, if I could tear off the glaring religiosity some folks tend to paint onto texts like Psalm 45 and just simply enjoy this wedding song for what it is?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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