green pastures still waters green pastures.
still waters green
- a response to psalm 23
I have such a difficult time being quiet sometimes. Well, most of the time really. To simply sit and rest is a very hard task for me. I recently found myself unable to find an actual "quiet place" to pray. In fact, I've had a hard time praying in general since I arrived. I'm almost afraid of what else God might have me do next if I sit and listen to him again. Anyway, I ended up in a cafe down the street from my place. I plugged my headphones into my computer and turned on Kid A, by Radiohead and began to read psalm 23 outloud.
The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green - stop there. Green. Pastures. Lovely. Warm. Sun-drenched pastures. I could hardly go on, and then...he leads me beside still waters - again, stop there. Still. Waters. The deep fresh air I'm so desperate to breathe in is just sitting there on the page, waiting for me to breath it in.
The first time I read the passage I could barely get past still waters. In fact, the rest of the psalm was nearly lost to me.
Reading it again - this time all the way through.
Sitting in silence.
Over and over in my head I hear the words, green pastures - still waters.
Of course this passage is not new to me, but I am usually struck by the illusions of being surrounded by evil and yet being protected by God. However, today I'd rather take a little nap in a green pasture next to a still lake. The final time I read the passage, the image of being annointed with oil resonated.
Our convocation for Mars Hill was held at St. Mark's Cathedral here in Seattle. The place is amazing! The building was planned in 1926 and construction began in 1928. When the Great Depression hit in 1929 construction stopped and the parish was left with what they now call "The Holy Box." I had never been there been before and was overwhelmed with it's raw, industrial, gothic beauty. As I walked out after the conclusion of Convocation I noticed two jars of elements. One large, clay jar of water in the center of the aisle and one smaller glass jar filled with oil.
While I rested in the last reading of psalm 23 I got the image of being "knighted" by God. Set aside. Marked. Annointed. Touched by God in this raw, visceral way. That He would actually come to dip his His finger in a jar of oil and touch His finger to my head breaks my little heart.
I'm sure my experience reading this psalm may have been different had I actually been laying in a green pasture somewhere. Though, perhaps it was my noisy, chaotic enviornment which led me to rest in the more calm phrases. Either way.