Marilyn Chandler McEntyre
Marilyn Chandler Mc Entyre teaches medical humanities at the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. Her latest book is Word by Word: A Daily Spiritual Practice (Eerdmans).
In his years as a pastor my husband read the 23rd Psalm at the bedsides of quite a few people who were dying. It was the most frequently requested passage among those who were facing their own going and still able to choose. When I began to volunteer for hospice, I found, as he had, that even for people who had wandered far from church, even for the skeptical and the uncertain, even for those who were unused to prayer and didn't want to be prayed over, the 23rd Psalm provided a place of return that was beautiful, familiar, inviting, and reassuring.
Perhaps there is a connection we shouldn't miss between David's dancing with all his might--uninhibited, unclad, unaware of disapproval--and the generosity with which he blesses and distributes food to all the people. Both are extravagant gestures that turn love into action, withholding nothing.
Mark writes, “many were coming and going, and they had no leisure, even to eat.” I read this observation with uneasy laughter, thinking of many lunches spent at my computer with a sandwich.
I like Mark’s frequent mention of how people felt. In this week’s text, Herod is greatly perplexed about John the Baptist.
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