I lift my eyes up to the mountains, where does my help come from?*
– King David, King of Israel
The king in the ancient world was the person you went to with all of your problems, the king had all the answers. In fact, on some ancient BC archaeological scrolls, something simlar to these words were found “The king is the representative of the Gods who has come down to show us how to be.” The king was God in effect. The king was a direct representative of the ontological spirit that culture looked to. People would worship the king. They would give their lives to the king. The king was the rockstar who had all the fame. The king was the one in power.
had all the answers.
chooses castration rather than power.
We tend to look to things in our history as a church for influence on what we should do and where we should go, we tend to look to what we know rather than what we don’t? Why, because we have believed the perverse lie that somehow knowledge equals power. To David, there is power in the uknowning.
David takes it too far. By focusing outside the temple and outside of the mountain, the very foundation of the temple, David is basically condemning these things as useless.
Much like Jesus did when he spoke to the institutional representatives and told them they were dead inside. David is challenging us to see that the foundation of the institutions are the issue.
For some, I get this might be a bit outside of where you might be, and don’t want to minimize the struggle of attempting to fully divorce ourselves from the noise of structuralism into the quiet of post-structuralism. It isn’t an easy journey, I realize that, but it is one we can take together and to come to realize that the God we seek doesn’t just simply lie outside of the institution, but also resides outside of the foundations of our institution.
When David utters the words up above and looks toward the mountains, it isn’t just a declaration of nature or the natural order of things, the temple is what sat on that mountain. Centered in the ancient Eastern Levant religions was the belief that you could meet with the Divine in tents (Genesis 18), trees, and mountains to name a few spaces. They wanted to define their experience of meeting with God, so they created an institution, they created a structure.
We as people, tend to want to define or give some sort of structure to our experience, so we try to explain in it words, in language, which is itself – a structure. We have also been fed the lie that we need to instiutionalize everything that has value. David, a king, the ultimate expression of institutionalization denies the need for institution. In fact, he looks beyond it.
looks outside of it.
have been the problem.
I think is a great question!!
Psalm 121 is by far my favorite Psalm.