July 23, 2000
MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH ... AND THE MEDITATIONS OF ALL
OUR HEARTS ... BE ALWAYS ACCEPTABLE TO YOU --- OUR STRENGTH AND
OUR REDEEMER AMEN
"My God, my God .. why have you forsaken me? ... Jesus' words on the cross. He apparently did not have the strength to continue to quote psalm 22: Why are you so far from my cry and from the words of my distress? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; by night as well, but I find no rest."
Today we recited verses from the end of the same psalm: "Praise the Lord! ... and "My praise is of Him in the great assembly!!" All from the same poem, the same psalm. All the words coming from the same person. ... Which words fit your life? ... My suspicion is that both sets fit us at some time. There are times when we are ready to shout "Praise the Lord!!". However, for most people there have also been times when we have cried out -- "Where are you God!?!?" With the sub-text of, "Why have you deserted me God?"
Too often modern Christianity is very one sided. Too often the shouting with praise is done .. but not the shouting with frustration and anger. Which is one reason I like the psalms. They don't pull many punches. When the writer felt God had deserted him -- God was questioned about it, if not chastised for it!
That attitude confuses a lot of people. What right do I have to challenge, to question God? The answer to that question is: Not much right --- except that God has told us over and over again to speak our minds.
Furthermore, every week I open our service with a prayer we call the "Collect for Purity" .. "Almighty God, to all hearts are open, all desires known and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy Name."
The implication of that statement .. that prayer is t ...
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