URC Daily Devotions Sunday, 25 February 2024

Sunday, 25 February 2024 
 
The Second Sunday of Lent Psalm 22 1 – 15

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
You are far from my plea and the cry of my distress.
O my God, I call by day and you give no reply;
I call by night and I find no peace.

Yet you, O God, are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our forebears put their trust;
they trusted and you set them free.

When they cried to you, they escaped.
In you they trusted and never in vain.

But I am a worm and no man,
the butt of all, laughing stock of the people.
All who see me deride me.
They curl their lips, they toss their heads.

“He trusted in the Lord, let him save him;
let him release him if this is his friend.”

Yes, it was you who took me from the womb,
entrusted me to my mother’s breast.
 To you I was committed from my birth,
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Do not leave me alone in my distress;
Come close, there is none else to help.

Many bulls have surrounded me,
fierce bulls of Bashan close me in.
 Against me they open wide their jaws,
like lions, rending and roaring.

Like water I am poured out,
disjointed are all my bones.
My heart has become like wax,
it is melted within my breast.

 

Reflection

Feeling abandoned by God puts us in a lonely and desperate place. Hundreds of years later this cry from the heart of the psalmist and later the Prophets (Habakkuk 1:1-2) will be echoed by a man who, despite doing no wrong, was facing a prolonged, humiliating, and public death.

Today, we may still be feeling that same despair; the world seems to be on a course to self-destruction through war and a refusal to address climate change. Many are facing challenges from worrying about paying the bills to serious illness or struggling with issues of equality.  A grim picture indeed, so do the echoes of the psalmist’s cry across the years still have anything to say to us?

I find these laments one of the wonderful gifts of scripture. We have permission to cry out, be brutally honest to God, and unload all of our anger and grief onto his broad and loving shoulders. In recent years, we have become better as a nation about seeking help but we still have a way to go. If we read on, the psalmist tells us God is our ultimate therapist, always available, always caring, always discreet.

When Job demands answers from God, he’s reminded that God is constantly juggling all the demands of a complex universe that are simply beyond human understanding. I’m reminded of that scene in Bruce Almighty, where Jim Carrey’s character quickly finds out responding to everyone’s competing and constant requests is not that easy!  Rather than staying stuck seeking answers which may not exist the psalmist instead reminds us to turn to God and renew our trust in him.

God does not tell us there will be no suffering in this world, simply that they will be alongside us in our grief.  The act of coming back into a relationship with our Creator and Redeemer may be a long and difficult process but it is the one which will ultimately heal us.

Prayer

Loving God
We thank you for the gift of lament, knowing that we can come to you with our deepest fears and we will be heard
Help us to acknowledge that we may not ever know the reasons for our suffering but that you will always be beside us in our darkest moments
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:5)
Amen
 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Lisa Moore Wilson, Minister, Cumbria Missional Partnership

Copyright

The Psalms: An Inclusive Language Version based on the Grail translation from the Hebrew
© 1963, 1986 The Grail (England) GIA Publications

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