Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Lenten Reflection for March 9, 2013

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.” For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
For all our days pass away under your wrath; our years come to an end like a sigh. The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. Turn, O Lord! How long? Have compassion on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:1-14)

The psalmist expresses a profound awareness of God’s engagement with the whole of human life. God is acknowledged as creator of all things and as the one who holds the days of each human life in his hand. The sins of the people stand stark before God’s face, and his anger flares.

Yet, the writer speaks of a longing for wisdom in light of the frailty of life. He longs for God’s compassion and love that will result in joy and gladness in the swiftly passing days of life.

In this song of worship I hear the singer marveling at God’s engagement with the people he loves. Yes, there is anger because the people have a history of turning away. Yes, there is wrath because God leaves the people to the horrific consequences of their bent desires. These are acknowledged as hard realities.

But the longing and expectation is that God’s steadfast love will bring both satisfaction and joy. This is not the voice of one who cowers before a raging deity; it is the voice of one who is confident in the love of God who is both creator and redeemer.

I don’t think I often appreciate the wholeness of God’s engagement with me. It is too easy to look for joy as a result of getting the things in life that I want rather than as a result of God’s steadfast love—a love that is poured out even as my secret sins stand before God, revealed for what they really are.

Come, O God, and embrace the entirety of my life throughout the days that I live.

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