Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Broken Things and Golden Wings

Though ye have lien among the pots,
yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver,
and her feathers with yellow gold.
Psalm 68:13

Imagine this strange site: a field full of broken bottles and jagged jars, fragments of glass and clay, shattered and scattered, empty and useless. The Psalmist David summons such a strange but poignant image to describe the righteous, especially the righteous who face adversity, as "lien among the pots," or in more colloquial language, "lying among the pieces of broken pottery." Widows, orphans, prisoners, and those in any adversity are, in the Psalmist’s mind, like broken vessels of clay, destroyed by the enemy, discarded as refuse, and discounted as worthless in their broken, shattered emptiness. And so are the saints of God, like old Israel, often smashed violently by their adversaries, shattered by difficult circumstances, their fragile lives scattered in pieces like so much broken glass and shapeless clay.

But David sees another image, equally vivid and strange. Suddenly the sun's bright beams transform the field of broken vessels; its light irradiates their shattered, dull, and colorless existence and transfigures them into golden rays and silver shafts darting heavenward, tracing out the celestial source of their newly christened glory. Though she may have "lien among the pots," let Israel hope in David’s God, who fashions the ragged shards of our lives into "the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold."

No comments: