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Thumbing through one of those thousand-and-one books that I must read before I die, I found the part in Homer’s Odyssey where the hero is swept off his boat and swims for shore, only to find himself tossed onto some very jagged rocks, which cut his hands when he reaches to grip (5:425).
How different the Rock we come to when our hearts are faint, for when we are weary of floundering, we find ourselves quickly reached for, and drawn in, and embraced, and supported, and to our amazement and delight, by hands that were torn and pierced to enable the rescue.
What a relief to be freed from all attempts to manipulate and outwit the deity, like some poor Odysseus, but to approach the Rock in our weary brokenness and humiliating sinfulness, and find rest and comfort and security and the longed-for peace.
Psalm 61 includes that line about finding the “Rock that is higher than I”, with David’s musical instruction that it be played with stringed instruments. I wonder how it went? Who knows, but no doubt with notes more true than those of Homer’s deceptive Sirens.
It’s worth finding the Rock, but he can only be found when we understand the order: “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I”. While we remain higher than him, we will miss him completely and sail off the edge of the world.
DM September 2012