Lent – Day 13: Good Medicine

With apologies for not blogging yesterday – I offer this brief reflection on the morning psalms from the Daily Office Lectionary.

Psalm 56
God, have mercy on me because I’m being trampled.
All day long the enemy oppresses me.
My attackers trample me all day long
because I have so many enemies.
Exalted one, whenever I’m afraid,
I put my trust in you—
in God, whose word I praise.
I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
What can mere flesh do to me?
All day long they frustrate my pursuits;
all their thoughts are evil against me.
They get together and set an ambush—
they are watching my steps,
hoping for my death.
Don’t rescue them for any reason!
In wrath bring down the people, God!
You yourself have kept track of my misery.
Put my tears into your bottle—
aren’t they on your scroll already?
Then my enemies will retreat when I cry out.
I know this because God is mine.
God: whose word I praise.
The Lord: whose word I praise.
I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?
I will fulfill my promises to you, God.
I will present thanksgiving offerings to you
because you have saved my life from death,
saved my feet from stumbling
so that I can walk before God in the light of life.

Psalm 57
Have mercy on me, God; have mercy on me
because I have taken refuge in you.
I take refuge
in the shadow of your wings
until destruction passes by.
I call out to God Most High—
to God, who comes through for me.
He sends orders from heaven and saves me,
rebukes the one who tramples me. 
God sends his loyal love and faithfulness.
My life is in the middle of a pack of lions.
I lie down among those who devour humans.
Their teeth are spears and arrows;
their tongues are sharpened swords.
Exalt yourself, God, higher than heaven!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
They laid a net for my feet to bring me down;
they dug a pit for me,
but they fell into it instead! 
My heart is unwavering, God—my heart is unwavering.
I will sing and make music.
Wake up, my glory!
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake the dawn itself!
I will give thanks to you, my Lord, among all the peoples;
I will make music to you among the nations
because your faithful love
is as high as heaven;
your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
Exalt yourself, God, higher than heaven!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

These Psalms are among my go to psalms. The psalmist ever places trust in God. That said, the writer here is totally honest about the depth of pain and betrayal that he has experienced. The trust in God as a place of refuge is reassuring to the reader. Perhaps more reassuring for me, as one who makes an attempt to follow in The Way of Jesus, is the acknowledgement of the pain that sometimes arises in following. The psalms here speak to betrayal, plotting, jealously and deceit. This writer has known the pain of loneliness and the despair of not being able to trust those who are supposed to be trusted community.

I confess that at times in ministry I have felt as though ‘my life is in the middle of a pack of lions whose teeth are are sharp as arrows and whose tongues are sharpened swords.’

Like the psalmist, I prevail because I put my trust in God. I take refuge in the loving hands, and arms, and embraces of the faithful.

On this sunny Lenten day, I read this morning’s psalms, and give thanks for unwavering love as it is shown in God’s people. And I give thanks that while others may frustrate my pursuits and hope for me to stumble, God keeps track of my tears and holds me up when I can’t hold myself up. God sticks with me, even when I feel trampled and defeated…..

Last night Catherinanne and I had opportunity to spend a few hours with my brother Darryl his beautiful wife Karen and our incredible niece Sarah, who were overnighting in Toronto. It is good medicine to be in the refuge of God’s love as expressed in family. I indeed greet the day with the words of Psalm 57

I will sing and make music.

Wake up, my glory!    Wake up, harp and lyre!    I will wake the dawn itself!I will give thanks to you,my Lord,    among all the peoples;I will make music to you among the nations    because your faithful love        is as high as heaven;    your faithfulness reaches the clouds.

It is always a good day when all that is good in life, and all that God is revealing, is made obvious for you in the face of beautiful people.

Even just a short period and a big hug from this darling niece brings much healing …. thank God for such small but mighty moments.


One thought on “Lent – Day 13: Good Medicine

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  1. Family closeness is so important and, on another level, eating together-(Chinese or Indian) is always good. Jesus realized the value of a memorable meal so we have the best reason to sit with those we love.
    God bless you during your Lenten journey and recovery.Jane

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