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Reflection on Psalm 73 – Thursday, 3rd week of Lent..

February 17, 2007

OK…I will torture all now with my reflection on Psalm 73, from BCP. The Psalms are mostly very rough for me to contend with – I have to say, that when I read them, I am often overcome by tribal cognitions, and these have a way of getting in between me and the Lord – particularly when we are smiting our’n enemies, and their’n children for 8 generations and such. This smacks to me far more of man’s desire than God’s. So, this is a VERY difficult task for me. Comments, criticisms welcome.

and, yes, I know this is EARLY (before Lent) for all of you, but, too bad. I don’t make you all come here to read. ( 😀 )

Psalm 73 vv. 16 & 23

When I tried to understand these things, it was too hard for me…Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

I often find it difficult to know what it is that God wants me to learn. The challenges seem to be many, filled with inconsistencies and questions as perceived on my part. Sometimes it’s a challenging life experience that causesme to stumble or even as simple as thing as wrestling with a particularly troublesome biblical passage. The child inside me longs to rail at God: “Why, oh, why isn’t it just CLEARER? The task is too big for me, Lord. I am not enough – not mentally, not spiritually, not physically – to meet the smallest of your challenges. I cannot see the way.”

It is at these times that I must remember that God doesn’t expect me to be enough all on my own. The Almighty Creator, Mother/Father of all, has given me the gift of community, and above all else, the strength and reserve to be found within the steadfast presence of the Lord at my side. When it is too much for me, I can hand it back over, and the Lord will carry the burden for me.

I will never understand all the lessons of the Lord. I will never be enough to meet all the challenges on my own. But, I will always be as God intends me to be, and God will always make up for my lack through his eternal grace and steadfast love for what he has created in me and in you.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ann permalink
    February 17, 2007 1:02 pm

    Thanks Eileen – I love the psalms – so real. I thought for years that religious people had to be “nice.” Reading the psalms helped me see that it is okay to have terrible thoughts – like “break out all their teeth and turn them into the slime of snails.”
    Here is one from my book:

    “Weeping may spend the night,*
    but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30

    Evening darkens,
    grief knocks at my door
    and moves in for the night.
    With the dawn
    I pack his bags
    and busy myself in life.

  2. Eileen permalink
    February 17, 2007 1:13 pm

    The Psalms definitely demonstrate that humanity is alive and well.

    Another v. from Psalm 73 –

    Surely, you set them in slippery places;*
    you cast them down in ruin.

    These kind of phrases give me grief. I have wanted to have my enemies set in a slippery place, and cast down in ruin. But God?

    My thought is that God is just saddened by this, and that willful separation from him is our exile and punishment – imposed by our own human arrogance, rather than God’s sentence. Of course, I could be (sadly) wrong…

    Your Psalm reflection is beautiful. Those are the pieces of the Psalms I love – those that give me human connection to the human condition through space and time.

  3. Pisco Sours permalink
    February 18, 2007 8:18 pm

    You’ll notice in your Surfer’s Prayer Book that some of the more violent psalms are eliminated altogether.

    I understand the reasoning behind it, but my own feeling is that prayer encompasses the whole range of our fallen human feelings. “F*** you, f*** you, and especially f*** you!” is a perfectly human, if uncharitable, emotion to have. Giving voice to that hatred, letting go and giving it to God so it doesn’t infest us anymore, can be a healing form of prayer.

    Someone once told me what to pray in a similar situation: “Dear God Almighty, give ______ exactly what s/he deserves!” The point, of course, was that only God knows what any person deserves; all we can do is get that poisonous hate out of us by any means possible.

    So yes, I pray that God will crack my enemies’ bones. I don’t really expect or want him to—after I finish praying anyway.

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