Psalms of privilege…

Have you read the psalms recently?

An ancient hymn book, full of messages celebrating privilege. Celebrating a relationship with God who is on OUR side. The one who will kick ass on our behalf.

Of course, there is so much more than that in this wonderful ancient poetry – lament, hope, beauty, thankfulness, stillnes – but on one level, they were written as Israel-first propganda.

The danger is that we adopt them as a personal me-first version of the same.

Consider the most famous of them all, psalm 22. We wheel it out when we need it, like some kind of holy comfort blanket. It is beautiful, full of hope and assurance, offering us the hope of God on our side. I read it over and over this week because I am preparing to lead the funeral of a dear friend of ours.

We will desperately need psalm 22.

Beyond this, I found myself wondering what else this psalm had to say to me right now, and wrote this poem.

Psalm 23


If God is my shepherd, why worry?

Why let anxiety crack the night?

Why let fear of failure pin me

Like a blunt spear?


If I lie down in green pastures

Why must I mortgage?

Why chase a wage?

Why scratch upwards for success?


If I am led beside still waters

Why must I stare into inky depth

And wonder when my ship

Will come in?


If I walk through darkest valleys

And still fear evil

Must I arm myself with

My very own rod and staff?


If God would load a table for me

In front of hungry enemies, could I eat?

For surely I’d be sick to my stomach

If I failed to share?


If anointed, what am I anointed for?

What makes me so special?

Is it because I am white, male, British?

What if I fall from favour?


If goodness and mercy follow after me

Is that like holy magic, or must I make it?

Is it a get-out-of-jail card or an invocation

To become a conduit for love?


If I am to dwell in the house of the Lord

Will my room have wifi and a good view?

Or will it be a shelter for the homeless where

Even people like me are welcome?

2 thoughts on “Psalms of privilege…

  1. really enjoyed this Chris. This Psalm is my bread and butter just now and I love your thoughts and ideas here. Praying today is a special time for all who knew her.

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