Monday, April 23, 2012

Rejoicing in Drowned Egyptians

In today's Office of Readings, Venerable Bede is helpful to all of us peacemaker types who get squeamish when the psalter rejoices in the discomfort and death of enemies.

We don't have to worry what the psalmist or other biblical author felt when he gleefully describes the defeat of enemies. We who pray the psalter are to view these enemies as symbols of all that is evil, both outside us and within us. Bede uses the example of the canticle from Exodus ("horse and rider he has cast into the sea") where Moses, Miriam, and the people rejoice after the crossing of the red sea an the drowning of Pharoah's armies:

The Egyptians who oppressed the people of God, and who can also stand for darkness or trials, are an apt symbol of the sins that once oppressed us but have now been destroyed by baptism.