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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Spirituality in Psalms: Psalm 34 – “Taste and see” + a little Sweet potato pie

As we continue our study of Psalm 34, David has supplies us with information about how to overcome, or be delivered from our fears. See previous post here. He explains in Psalm 34, that this is a 3-step process.

The first step is to acknowledge our fears. Yes, we would like to appear to the world like we have it all together all of the time, that we are the coolest and calmest person walking the earth, but we are not. We are frail human vessels who are frightened at times.

So the first order of business is to “fess up.” Yes, I am afraid and I cannot figure out how to get through this situation.

The second step is to appropriate God’s power. We need to use it, rely on it, and incorporate it into our whole being. Remember, “He has not given us the spirit of fear…” Use the gifts and talents that you have been given.

The third part of the process is in God’s hands. He “encamps around us.” He protects us. He fortifies us. He gets us ready for battle. In the book of Job, it was referred to as a “hedge.” He guards our hearts and our minds, if we relinquish whatever control we think we have over things, and let him do it.

But, as David continues his writing, he invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

These two verbs don’t ordinarily sound like they should go together. But what David is driving at is that he wants us to experience this goodness for ourselves. He wants us to convert our head knowledge into heart knowledge. He wants us to bring all of our senses into play.

You may disagree, but my grandmother made the best sweet potato pies in the world. It is a magical combination of spices that I have never been able re-create.

But, when I smell something close to it, and close my eyes- I can taste that pie and the flaky crust, I can smell the spices in the pie and the chicken we will eat after church, I can feel the warmth from my mother’s oven in our tiny kitchen, I can hear the scratchy crinoline I have to wear under my church dress, I can look down and see my socks and super shiny patent leather shoes.

And the best part? I know that as the most cherished and favored among her grandchildren (well, at least in my little mind), my grandmother will use the extra and the scraps to make me some tiny sweet potato turnovers of my very own. A few scents and I am a child again in a world that is not so scary.

This is what David wants. Yes, we can read about God, we can go to church or synagogue week after week, we can study about it. But until and unless that “something” gets into us and becomes part of us, and unless we let go of the "head knowledge" and step out on faith alone, it is all for naught.

“Oh, Taste and see that the Lord is good!”

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