April 2016

"I AM thy salvation . . . whoso findeth ME findeth Life"
[Psalm 35.3 & Proverbs 8.35]

By chance, the two Sayings that form this month's composite Saying appeared next to each other in a list that I compiled some years ago. A s I glanced at the list recently, they seemed to slot together. When they began to fill my contemplative silence their juxtaposition proved to be more frui tful than I expected.

In Psalm 35, the writer is clearly beset with problems. The imagery derives from battle as it often does in the Old Testament. But the "enemy" could be any kind of setback, from persecution to a malignant virus. In any case, the sufferer longs for the healing W ord which alone can save and protect him in his weakness and vulnerability. I AM is truly the only dependable Saviour.

This is cer tainly a life-giving Word, to which the Gospel bears strong witness. In the New Testament, salvation is synonymous with healing. The same Greek word soteri a is used for both. Jesus healed people, as someone once said, "because he couldn't help it." But among the many healings that happened during his minis try, the Gospels are careful to highlight those with a salvation aspect. "Your faith has saved you . . . your faith has made you whole" : words said by J esus to a leper, to a woman with haemorrhage, and by implication to a synagogue churchwarden and an army officer. More directly, "your sins have been forg iven", said to a paralytic.

"Whoso findeth ME findeth Life". To seek out God who is Wisdom is to actively engage in a relations hip with the "giver of Life" who is the Holy Spirit. The inner healing which follows puts deathliness into its subordinate place, affirming the triumph o f the One who is Resurrection and Life.

(It will be worth looking up Psalm 27.1, Proverbs 4. 20-22, and Ecclesiasticus 4. 11-12)