One Lord, One Baptism
Vs. 5b. you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Psalms 23 “is the world’s favorite psalms” and it “…expresses more vividly than any other portion of Scripture the individual’s private experience of God’s grace. (G.A.F. Knight, Psalms Volume 1.)” This psalm stresses that: God is love, God is loyal, and that God will never let us go; in a language that the people of that time would fully appreciate. This Psalms uses images from various events in Israel’s history to illustrate that life with God is a life of well-being and satisfaction, in which a person lacks nothing.
The image of a God preparing “a table before me in the presence of my enemies” would remind the Israelites of the journey through the wilderness. After escaping the Egyptians and with threats and dangers around them, the Lord provides them with Manna, the bread from Heaven. Here everyone received as much as they needed (Exodus 16:18). In fact according to Deuteronomy 2:7; the entire wilderness journey is seen as an event where the people were not lacking anything because God’s steadfastness and goodness is found adequate in the face of every threat to life (Walter Brueggemann, The Message of the Psalms.) Deuteronomy 2:7 “The Lord your God has blessed you in all the works of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.”
The image of “Thou anoints my head with oil,” would remind the people how priests like Aaron (Leviticus 8:12) and kings like David would have been anointed with oil (1Samuel 16:13.) They were anointed into the service of the Lord. They were given positions of responsibility to help teach and lead other people so that they would understand the word of God and do His Will. Leviticus 8:12 actually states that the oil was used to “consecrate Aaron.”
In a similar manner, during our baptism service the one being baptized is anointed with Holy Oil. It is a “sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit”. It is also a sign that the person is consecrated. The person is to “be subject to God’s sovereignty and reflect the glory of God’s majesty.” We are consecrated to serve God by letting others see His Glory and Majesty. To show others that a life with God is a life of so much abundance that “our cup overflows.”
Heavenly Father, allow us to always remember that You graciously provide for all our needs out of your great mercy. Allow us to always remember that if you are with us we have nothing to fear and that we lack nothing. Allow us to rejoice in Your fellowship. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
One Baptism to Serve One Lord.
Rev. Shibi Abraham, Youth Chaplain North East RegionChristian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church