Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Key of David

During Advent I have been reading Malcolm Guite's Waiting on the Word.  He offers a poem - or extract from a poem - for each day and gives a reflective commentary.  Over this particular few days the poems are a series of seven sonnets which he himself wrote reflecting seven great prayers of the early church in which Christ is addressed by a series of mysterious titles found in the Old Testament, mainly in Isaiah.  Today's selection takes the fourth of these and so reflects on Christ as 'the Key of David'.

There is a particular link with Isaiah 22:22 and 42:7.  The first of these refers to receiving the key off David and what it will open and close while the second mentions some of the things that are unlocked.

It is not one of the most commonly used images, but I like this idea of Jesus being the means by which crucial things are unlocked.  The world is complex.  We need a key to unlock its challenges. That key is Jesus.  This especially works as an image in those places where we are struggling.  We might join Guite in referring to Jesus as a Key "that finally fits, unlocks, opens and heals our woundedness."

Guite also reminded me of another useful application of this image when he talks of how "we speak of the need on the one hand for 'closure' and on the other for 'unlocking', 'opening' or 'liberation'."

The key plays a crucial role in getting us in to situations, and so we talk about things that are key and people who have a key role.  I think I want to also make that connection - and look for the key things that God is calling us to do - which, incidentally, might mean that we need (and ought) to give up some of the not-so-key ones in order to make space.

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