Monday, September 13, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 28, a prayer of nine succinct verses in which the psalmist rides a seesaw emotion.
My prayer is like that sometimes. I try to pray the way Jesus would pray — the “Our Father” type of goodness and all.
But to be honest, “Thy Will be done” and “as we forgive those who trespass” are not always easy sentiments for me. How about you?
Our psalmist seems to have some trouble too … but with points of light and redemption in the end:
|O Lord, I call to you;|
my rock, do not be deaf to my cry;
lest, if you do not hear me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
|Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, |
when I lift up my hands to your holy of holies.
|Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, |
who speak peaceably with their neighbours,
while strife is in their hearts.
|Repay them according to their deeds, |
and according to the wickedness of their actions.
According to the work of their hands repay them,
and give them their just deserts.
|They have no understanding of your doings, |
nor of the works of your hands;
therefore you will break them down
and not build them up.
|Blessed are you, O Lord! |
For you have heard the voice of my prayer.
|O Lord, you are my strength and my shield; |
my heart trusts in you, and I have been helped;
therefore my heart dances for joy,
and in my song will I praise you.
|You are the strength of your people, |
a safe refuge for your anointed.
|Save your people and bless your inheritance; |
shepherd them and carry them for ever.
What I learn from this psalm is to tell God the truth when I pray – but the real truth -the truth that we hear back from God when we listen in our prayer. And that listening should always be done in sync with the Gospel. It is as if we cup the Gospel around our prayer the way we bend an ear to the faint but longed-for sound.
Poetry: Lost – David Whyte
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here, And you must treat it as a powerful stranger, Must ask permission to know it and be known. The forest breathes. Listen. It answers, I have made this place around you, If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here. No two trees are the same to Raven. No two branches are the same to Wren. If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows Where you are. You must let it find you.”
Music: The Golden Forest – Tim Janis