Sharing God's Love
A weekly reflection, based on one of the Sunday readings.
Week beginning Sunday 28 June – Trinity 3 (Proper 8)
Bible Reading – Psalm 13
How long, Lord? Will you forget me
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
by Rev’d Lesley Hardy
I love the psalms - they show all the emotions of life in the raw. No stiff upper lip here! “How long O lord?” The writer cries, from the depths of his being.
Haven’t we all been there at some time? Maybe we are now - how long O lord will we have to live so differently?” How long will the virus be a threat? How long will I have to cope with this illness, unemployment, difficult relationship? How long do we have to live with injustice? It’s a very real cry from the heart.
For the author of the psalm it feels as if God has forgotten him. The words he uses describe the depths of his despair. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts, and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” He isn’t hiding his thoughts, or pretending everything is fine, as we are often tempted to do. The fact that he lays it all out and says it as it is, should be a real encouragement to us, that we can do the same. Asking these questions and feeling abandoned isn’t a denial of our faith, but very much part of it.
This psalm, along with others like it, is all about being human, and working out what it means to have a relationship with God while living on this earth with all the highs and lows that involves.
We all do face extremely difficult challenges and strong emotions.
So what happens next?
The psalmist takes that pain and anguish pours it out before God. Such an important step. Just expressing anguish and pain can be so helpful, not only before God, but also with someone who can listen without judging, or coming up with easy answers. Feeling heard can be a such a huge comfort. I know recently I shared a deep pain with a group of friends and was so encouraged by their non judgmental listening and understanding. In itself, so healing.
As a family of Christians we are called to be a place where people can come and just be – wherever they happen to be on their journey. Not just in church but in our homes too. Following Jesus means being with people wherever they are. We walk together and make space for people to feel how they feel and we prioritise listening. We can’t and don’t have to solve it all. It can be hard because when we care we want to make it better.
But just notice how there are no answers in this psalm. Just having been given that space to vocalise the questions and the pain, there is now healing and a moving forward.
I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise
for he has been good to me”
At this point the psalmist is able to recognise how God has been with him, and therefore to trust him for whatever is going on now. We can never force ourselves, or anyone else into that place of trust, but maybe we can prepare for difficult times by keeping a record of answered prayer, and times when we have seen God at work in our lives. Wherever you are today, and whatever may be your difficult issues, I pray you will know God’s deep and rich blessing upon and within you, and that even when he appears silent, you will know he loves you, and holds you in the palm of his hand.
We continue to pray for wisdom and understanding as we gradually come out of lock down, and for those who live with anxiety and stress, we pray for God’s peace.
Collect for Trinity 3
God our saviour, look on this wounded world in pity and in power; hold us fast to your promises of peace won for us by your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
You are called and loved by God the Father and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance, from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
NOTE: We are happy to continue posting these Reflections, but we would really appreciate some feedback so that we know if people are using them, and whether they have any comments. Please email us Here.
This week's reflection will remain here all week, and then for each
Sunday during the shut-down we will be offering a new reading and
reflection for the coming week.
We also now have a Reflection and Discussion on the Reading of the day on Wednesdays at 2.00pm. Sarah is organising these – email or phone 01622 832925 for details. You will need to download the 'Zoom.us' app - if you need help watch this video.