Monday, October 10, 2016

An Alternate Translation

An alternate translation of  "Happy are those who consider the poor..." reads "Happy are those who consider the weak..."  (Psalm 41:1)  In light of the rest of the Psalm, the word "weak" seems the more appropriate translation choice.  It is verse 3 which brings me to this conclusion as it says, "The Lord sustains them on their sickbed, in their infirmities You heal all their infirmities."  While it is true that the scripture calls for protection of the poor and while it is also true that Jesus focused much of his energy on this group of people, the concern of the Psalmist seems directed toward the physically weak and broken.
The world around us is filled with these people.  Unfortunately, for many of those who populate the strong and healthy community, the weak and broken are an invisible group.  The healthy strong are often in too big a hurry to get where they are going to be able to see the slower broken members of their community and when they do see them, it is with a dismissive attitude which expresses the belief that "it is them and not me."   Or, maybe it is true that we race by the sick and infirmed because we cannot live with the reality of how fragile and precarious life is for all of us whether we are strong or weak.
And so, the Word says to us, "Happy (Blessed) are those who consider the broken..."  Pausing to share in the pain of our brothers and sisters not only give us a much needed perspective on our life, but we often find that those who seem so weak have so much to offer in terms of seeing the things which are truly important.  The weak may have bodies that are broken, but their spirits can speak to us of courage and their faith can truly point us toward God who is for all of us our only hope.  The person who does not run the other way when faced with the broken weakness of humanity can only become stronger for the many battles which are surely ahead.

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