Just listened to Sunday's service from the Gathering Place, led by one of SBC's finest recent graduates on the 23rd Psalm. Anyone who uses Brueggeman's categories for the psalms is good in my book, not least as I did a series based on it back in Dibley back 2006 (which I posted about here, here and here, always interesting to see what was going on and what I thought about a few years back) - I was mildly amused listening to the recording when the pianist played the 'Vicar of Dibley' tune as it took me back.
Anyway, the thing that struck me from the sermon was the image of the banquet and the anointing which occurs amidst the chaos of being surrounded by enemies. Anointing always seems such a calm and holy thing, a special occasion or a time when someone is ill, a time when the chosen participants are quiet an reverent. But no, here it is in a very chaotic setting.
The last time I was struck like this was in a New Testament class on Matthew 18 and the 'where two or three are gathered there I AM' which is in the midst of a passage about conflict and church discipline - another chaotic setting.
I think we all glibly assert God's presence in chaotic circumstances but perhaps don't see it (or I certainly haven't) in terms of glory (shekina presence where two or three are gathered) or anointing, or at least the potential for those. This is not the same as seeing chaotic as a gift from God just for us to be blessed in - that's bad theology! It's just a reminder that God is still completely God in the chaotic not somehow restricted or functionally different.
I have preached times without number that God does not promise to lift us out of our struggles but instead is there within them and may even surprise us. Every now and then I discover more examples of Biblical texts which support this... such as image of anointing in Psalm 23.
So thank you M for the new insight.