Set Free from the Hunter's Snare

Praying during the Lenten season with the Liturgy of the Hours (the Catholic version of The Book of Common Prayer) you frequently encounter this Antiphon and Responsory:
God himself will me free from the hunter's snare.
The image comes from places like Psalm 91:
I say this about the Lord, my shelter and my stronghold,
my God in whom I trust—

he will certainly rescue you from the snare of the hunter.
It raises the question. Who is the hunter and what is his snare?

I can't help but think of my post last week about Hebrews 2.14-15. The devil is the hunter and his snare is anxiety and fear.

I find this image very apt and timely. Looking around, many of us have been caught in the hunter's snare.

But what I love about the image in Psalm 91 and the Lenten refrain "God himself will me free from the hunter's snare" is its fierce proprietorship. If you know anything about hunting and its code of ethics, the one thing you do not do, when coming across a snared animal, is set it free. Yet God comes along and sees us caught the hunter's snare, and God promptly blows off the rights and feelings of the hunter. God sets us free.

I just love that image, God lawlessly walking through the woods, setting all the snared animals free. That hunter is going to be pissed!

Another way to think about it is that the hunter is a poacher, trying to steal from the owner of the land.

Either way, we might have been caught in the snare, but the hunter doesn't own us. For we are God's, and he is ours.

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