As part of our Psalms course at Redcliffe we were looking at Psalms of trust and lament today. One of the preparation tasks was to rewrite Psalm 23 using contemporary imagery. This is a really hard thing to do as metaphors are so vibrant, complex and loaded. What would be a contemporary way of expressing all that the psalmist wanted to convey when he said, ‘The Lord is my shepherd’? In a pure sense it can’t be done; no other term will employ the same language organism of emphasis, downplaying, and evocation.
Still, at least if we try we might dig deeper into what the psalmist was trying to get across. Metaphors get to the guts of the matter in a way that connects with the hearer-in-the-know in a way that ‘mere’ description cannot do (and by the way, try to describe something without using any metaphors – it’s harder than you would think!).
Here is what 2nd year degree student Emma-Louise brought this morning (she kindly gave me permission to use it here):
The Lord is my Blackberry, I lack nothing,He makes me listen to easy listening music,He helps me communicate with family,and read my daily Bible…
Metaphors arrest us and sometimes shock us. They place alongside each other things that normally have no business being seen together. After the initial surprise, they force us to resolve the tension that has been lodged in our minds: ‘how can A be like B’? They open us up to imagine old, precious truths in fresh ways.
Is this a new metaphor for the digital generation? What do you think?