In you, O LORD, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me. Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. I have been like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent. For my enemies speak concerning me, and those who watch for my life consult together. They say, “Pursue and seize that person whom God has forsaken, for there is no one to deliver.” O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let my accusers be put to shame and consumed; let those who seek to hurt me be covered with scorn and disgrace. But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more.– Psalm 71
When we read the Psalms, we hear and feel the struggles and blessings of generations and generations of the faithful. In the Psalms we find songs, poetry, laments, praise and other expressions of our relationship with God. These expressions help us today to find context for our faith or lack of faith. They help us visualize what life looks like with God, both the inspiring and the troubling. The Psalms are a place of hope. A place where we go to find wisdom through the ages. A place to be reminded of what it feels like to have faith.
We are living in difficult times, but we are far from the only ones who have suffered. Every generation has its struggles. This will pass, and other struggles will take its place. Take heart with the psalms as their raw emotion gives us a depth of experience and words to express our pain and confusion. Pray through the words and find God revealed in new and changing ways. Hear the struggles of a Hebrew people, persecuted and killed. Hear the unending gratitude to our God unwavering. Feel the desperation of people seeking holiness. Most of all feel the passion of our relationship with God.
We each need to be passionate about our faith. Seek it out through prayer, and study. See the faith of others and share in that experience. Let go of who you think God is and let your faith be transformed by the Spirit. Be created in God’s image instead of creating God in our image. Lent is a time to prepare for Easter, to prepare for resurrection. We all must open our hearts and minds to the passionate love of God here and now. Be passionate about what God is doing in your life and the world. Give yourself permission to let go. Set your fear free. Whatever is holding you back, express it to God. The greater your depth of expression to God, the greater love you will experience with God.
Amem and Amen!
Stay safe. Stay healthy and proclaim the gospel.