Saturday, February 5, 2011
Still Mere Chicks
I was sitting with several elderly people in the lounge on the second floor of the rest home. It was a brief period of time together reading and examining a few of the Psalms. (Other times it would be fiction, short stories, poetry.) I had picked three of the more familiar chapters and it was a real treat to hear some of the folks recite along with me as I read.
There was a time when the Psalms were woven into the fabric of many people's lives from school, church and the family dinner table. Not necessarily as a vehicle for Christian witness but as a groping and outreach and thanksgiving toward God.
I reminded the people that for me the Book of Psalms was very much like a "little Bible within the Bible", addressing all of the major themes of redemption and heart conditions of the various psalmists, principally David the shepherd-king. We then had a little review of the Goliath-slingshot episode "to prime the pump".
Together we examined the 121st (protector down from the hills), the 23rd (good and caring shepherd) and the 103rd (God of unfathomed mercy). I commented on the timelessness of these messages as they addressed the needs and aspirations of the human heart. I related how I had found common ground with some of the Puritan writers of over three hundred years ago in examining the Psalms and the extent to which they had been trusted in times of trial.
Then I dropped an apparently awkward thought: "These are tested old messages in an eternal program...and let's face it friends, on the eternal scale of things we are all just chicks. Every one in this room."
I looked around. Wheelchairs. Walkers. Gaunt twisted bodies. Shaking movements. Some of them didn't follow me.
"You know. Chicks. Baby birds, just starting out and needing lots of care."
The looks on a number of faces suggested, "Son, if you only knew how much I don't feel like a baby anything..."
But then a sort of realization passed over the faces of some. We continued with the examination of Psalm 103. We had found some new light together to "bless the Lord, O my soul" with little mouths wide open. And fresh hope.