Friday, November 6, 2015

Lectionary, 10/24/15: Curiousity inspires Trust

 Psalm 42
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?[b]
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation[c] and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

This prayer, for it is indeed a prayer, is a personal favorite of mine. Today, perhaps for different reasons. This is how I know, deep down, that Scripture is living words from God. There will be plenty of reasons why we feel emotions; emotions so obvious here in this prayer. 
The wrestling. 
The struggle.
 The woundedness.
The grief. Grief that seems to overwhelm the pray-er of this prayer.

Yet, this pray-er likens himself to a deer.
Ok, really? A deer? 

Have you ever seen a deer in the wild?

One day, at a retreat center, in the middle of a suburb, I saw one.
She was standing in the middle of a wooded area. 
What drew her there perhaps?
The gently moving stream beneath the bridge upon which we stood?
She was thirsty?
She perhaps had come to drink. 

What struck me was the stillness. 
The solitude. 
The gentle presence of this creature.
There was no fanfare, no hooves sloshing about. 
She just appeared, quiet and still.

And she stood, looking at us for a long time. Similar to the picture above.

Then she was gone. As if she had just vanished. And though I continued to search for her in the small wooded area, she was gone as quickly as she had come.
I wonder if the reason why the pray-er of this prayer likened himself or herself to a deer for this reason.

There comes a point when the grief overwhelms us, when the struggling and wrestling just stops.
And there is stillness. Complete stillness.
I call it shut down. 
We are perhaps unable to pray.
Unable to eat. 
Unable to even shape the words in our minds, much less utter them.
We run out of ourselves.

The things of this world simply cannot fill the void.
A gaping hole, cut wide open.
And we at last call out to the One who can.

The questions in this prayer surprise me; the pray-er is curious, even. 
Curious enough about him or herself to ask the question--Why?

The question inspires trust, rather than our perhaps misplaced interpretation of the pray-ers desperation for God to fix the situation.  Rather the pray-er, I think, is getting curious about himself or herself.

Curiousity about our feelings, our stumblings and bumblings, our struggles is a great beginning.

Good digging, I think.

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