Saturday, April 13 – Psalm 149
The poems in the Psalter reflect the gamut of human emotions in their expressions of crying out to God for forgiveness and mercy, lamenting pain and our own sinfulness, praising God’s majestic nature and all his creation, and much more. Psalm 149, the compendium’s penultimate song, invites us to praise the Lord in a “new song.” Verse 3 tells us to “praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre” – in other words, to praise God with our whole body. Thus Psalm 149 acknowledges our humanity.
For many of us, Lent is a time when we think of our bodies often – particularly if we are practicing daily fasting from food. At such times, we become more aware of our body’s limits and needs. Being human is part of how God created us. God made us in his image, yet human, and he declared us good. How often do we exist disconnected from and disappointed with our bodies? Someone once said, “We don’t just have bodies, we are bodies.” The body is the primary and only vessel in which to live one’s life. We are not “brains-on-a-stick.” Could acknowledging our finite and limited existence be the point at which we find true freedom to “sing a new song” – sing it in just the same way the psalmist charges us to praise and thus please the Lord?
Bonus: Sunday, April 14 – Psalm 42
As we walk through this season of Lent we are reminded of our need for God. In our penitence we are reminded not only of God’s faithfulness but also of our dependence on God. Yet sometimes we feel alone – sometimes as we face our struggles God seems absent. They ask, “Where is your God?” We cry out in despair from yearning to feel the presence of the Lord again, from knowing our need for our rock. We ask ourselves, “Where is my God?” In our longing, we know God is constant. In our anguish, we know the day will come when we will again rejoice in the Lord. “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” Our souls are longing for healing, peace, and comfort from the Lord – our rock in our distress. Because we know, in truth, that a time is coming when we will again praise the Lord, we can have hope in God even in the midst of our despair.
Lord, you are our rock. You are our foundation in times of darkness, and we know we can trust in you. Yet sometimes we cannot feel your presence. Give us strength to praise you and hope in you when we do not have the strength on our own. Meet us in our despair, gracious God, and hear us when we cry out. You are the one our souls long for. We praise and pray to you now in your holy name. Amen.
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