April 11, 2020

Your Only Comfort

I was thrown on you from my mother's womb. You are my God since my mother bore me. 
—Psalm 22:10 
I'm quoting here from the World English Bible because its use of "thrown" is more explicit than the more formal "cast" used in the New Revised Standard (which continues a trend set at least as early as the late 16th century Geneva Bible). The original Hebrew הָשְׁלַכְתִּי is even more vivid, meaning something more akin to "I was flung."

And so when I started meditating on Psalm 22 the other day, I think the last thing I expected to discover was an affirmation of infant baptism. But here we have the psalmist finding comfort in having been turned over to God when still a baby. Naturally, this might also refer to infant dedication. But there's something about this statement which implies that the relationship between the psalmist and God was complete at the moment of being flung/thrown/cast upon God.

I do not know how the person who wrote this intended it, but to my ears there is also the feeling that the psalmist was unwanted, rejected at birth. And so the question asked in verse 1 is amplified here in verse 10: How can the One on whom I was flung at birth now cast me away at the moment of my death? The answer that I settled on on Thursday (v 1) is also amplified here (v 10), and is expressed nowhere better than at the beginning of the Heidelberg Catechism:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
If ever I belonged to God, it was not because I chose God, but because God, in Christ, chose me—not at the moment of my birth, but before the universe was created. Nothing in life or in death can separate me from a love as eternal as that.

I thank you God that I am yours. Reassure me that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from your love, in Christ Jesus my Lord, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

No comments:

Post a Comment