June 14, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98, a prayer filled with hints of joyful thanksgiving and exuberant music.
At first reading, the psalm is a surprising companion to our other readings.
In the passage to the Corinthians, Paul doesn’t sound like he’s singing. He cites the struggles a committed disciple will face in order to spread the Gospel:
We cause no one to stumble in anything,2 Corinthians 6:3-4
in order that no fault may be found with our ministry;
on the contrary, in everything we commend ourselves
as ministers of God, through much endurance –
He then offers quite a catalog of endured tests.
Jesus isn’t singing either in our reading from Mark. Instead, he enumerates the list of trials to be endured, if necessary, to live a radical commitment to the Gospel – even including lost eyes and teeth, multiple slaps, indentured clothing and service, and self-effacing generosity.
Feel like singing yet?
But here’s the thing. Praying with these passages allows us to break through their surface to understand their heart, as our Alleluia Verse explains:
A lamp to my feet is your word,Psalm 119:105
a light to my path.
Jesus and Paul remind us that all our experiences, good and bad, are transformed in the light of the Word. That transformation calls us to respond to our lives from a well of radical faith which contradicts the deceits and interpretations of the world.
And if we answer the call to discipleship, where will it lead us? What decisions and partings will it demand? To answer this question we shall have to go to him, for only he knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship means joy.Deitrich Bonhoeffer
Deep faith allows us to see things, such as the listed trials, from a “new” perspective.
It is when we get to that place of freedom in our spiritual lives that we can truly “sing a new song unto the Lord”!
Poetry: Unconditional by Jennifer Paine Welwood
Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game;
To play it is purest delight -
To honor its form, true devotion.
Music: I Want to Sing a New Song – BJ Putnam and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir