Monday, January 26, 2015

Am I holding my sheaf of prayers in a clenched fist?

Lord who made the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan,
If I were a wealthy man? – Tevye

O LORD . . . answer us when we call. Psalm 20:9

And mostly in this morning’s passages the Psalmist was asking for the utter destruction of his enemies.
Each evening they come back,
    howling like dogs
    and prowling about the city.
 They wander about for food
    and growl if they do not get their fill.
  But I will sing of Your strength;
    I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning.
 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
    for You, O God, are my fortress,
    the God who shows me steadfast love. Psalm 59

And I read a bunch of stuff about the “imprecatory” psalms, calling down violent justice upon one’s enemies (and yes, I am still crabby at David for his last breath slicing and dicing), and there are lots of opinions, but once again I will land with Lewis when he said, “[T]he ferocious parts of the Psalms serve as a reminder that there is in the world such a thing as wickedness and that . . . is hateful to God.”

Because whoever put together today’s lectionary reminded us that Jesus wants us to leave vengeance in the hands of a just God: Jesus said: “But I say this to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly. To anyone who slaps you on one cheek, present the other cheek as well; to anyone who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and do not ask for your property back from someone who takes it.”

Jesus who totally gets What is What.

So that is today’s question. Am I listening? Do I believe? Is my God just? Is He trustworthy? Can I indeed cast all my cares upon Him? Will I choose to sing of His steadfast love?

And sometimes, well, pretty much all of the time my prayers are cries for mercy, for me and my beloved ones and for the unknowns, the unknowns who fill the headlines with their chopped-off heads or are shot at by police as they chant “bread, freedom and social justice.”

Yep the howling dogs return each evening, ripping at my rest.

Just yesterday morning Cameron and I were admiring a young babe absolutely and completely at rest on his mother’s breast. He basically melted into the comfort of her love and provision. 

So today let me likewise release. Snuggle in deeply, listening to the heartbeat of love. May I sing aloud His praises as I cry out for healing, for provision, for intervention.

For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen.