Sunday, May 01, 2005

You let me hold my head up high

Psalm 3
Journal entry dated February 21, 2005

"But you, Lord, are my shield, my glory, for you let me hold my head up high."

This psalm presents God as the one who gives dignity to the human situation. O perhaps better, God, the "lifter of my head," is the restorer of human dignity for all those who have been placed in a humiliating posture of subservience and abasement. God is portrayed as both "glory"--the one who gives dignity to human beings created in God's image--and shield, as the defender of this dignity against the onslaughts of those who would deprive people of dignity, stripping them of security, well-being, hope, self-determination, and even life itself.

To seek God's kingdom, then, requires the creation of a situation that allows people to hold their head up high, that recognizes and safeguards their dignity.

Perhaps what prevents us from creating this dignified space is the fact that people who hold their heads up high are much more difficult to control, to keep in line. On some level, human dignity is even inimical to the smooth functioning of society, at least society in its present incarnation. Tonight, we watched the movie "The Magdalene Sisters," the ultimate expression of a humiliating situation in which people are stripped of their dignity in order to be controlled.

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