It is interesting to experience the way new translations enable you to see new aspects to familiar texts.
This morning I read from Psalm 87 as part of my regular cycle of readings for the Daily Office in the Anglican church, but instead of using my familar NRSV or the now hackneyed NIV I read it from the Litrugical Psalter of A New Zealand Prayer Book. It reads as follows:
The Lord loves the city
that is founded on the holy hill:
its gates are dearer to God
than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you:
Zion, city of our God.
"I the Lord will count Egypt and Babylon:
as among those who are my friends.
"The people of Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia:
eash one is born in her.
"All shall call Jerusalem 'Mother!':
for each of them was born in her."
The Most high shall keep her secure:
when the roll of the peoples is written up
the Lord shall record,
'Each one was born in her'
Singers and dancers alike shall proclaim:
'In you all find their home.'
I was away last week at a Religious Education conference attended by Christians, Muslim and Jewish educators. One of the questions that naturally arose in this context concerned the exclusive claims that Christians and others have made about their religion, and in a workshop on the Old Testament theology of Creation the comment was made that Judaism was not an exclusive-ist religion. While Israel saw themselves as chosen they were to live in a world in which all peoples belonged.
The Psalm certainly reflects that view. It sets out by calling Jerusalem the Holy Hill that is most dear to God. God then declares the nations to be among his friends even going so far as to say of them that each one was born in "her" - a clear referrence to Jerusalem as God's Holy Hill. "All shall call Jerusalem 'Mother', for each one of them was born in her."
How extraordinarily generous of God.
I am moving gently towards a broader, more inclusive view of Christianity that seeks to reflect God's grace and mercy and sees the religious faith of others as a response to the same kind of, but different, revelation of God that we rely on within my own Christian tradition. Indeed, I delighted a week or so ago to visit a Franciscan Friar who was establishing a multi-faith house of friendship, under the patronage of the Roman Catholic Archbishop. While I was with him a Hindu guru arrived and invited us both to join him for chai at a local vegan resturaunt, driving us both there in his rather large, though old, Mercedes Benz. We were joined there by a local Buddhist adherant and between the four of us we discussed all sorts of things - the good and ill of this life.
ROBERT INCHAUSTI: SUBVERSIVE ORTHODOXY
3 years ago