Vicar’s Reflection: 5th August 2018
The writers of the Bible were inspired to retain the story of King David’s abuse of power and privilege. If David had simply been a bad man who did bad things and had a bad end there is not much to learn. But David was known as ‘a man after God’s own heart’ (Acts 13.22). He was accomplished in military leadership, in diplomacy; in learning and creativity; in music and poetry and dance. Yet he also conspired and committed murder and adultery. What then makes him a fine example as a “man of God”? When brought to an awareness of his sin by the prophet Nathan and his finely crafted parable, David admits his wrongdoing, accepts God’s judgement and tries to make amends. When it is clear there are consequences that cannot be changed he accepts this also. He also did what the great artists through the ages have done and turned the bitterness of his experience into a work of art (Psalm 51) which is used to this day to express sorrow and remorse. Perhaps his lament inspired some of the songs of Johnny Cash* of whom it is said: ‘The music of Johnny Cash is filled with.. men and women haunted by their guilt. It would be wrong, however, to say that Cash was simply the Murder Ballad Man. After all, he sang more about love and God than he ever sang about murder...” May King David’s song also be ours even if our reasons for sorrow are a little less dramatic.