Saturday, March 25, 2006

Morning Prayer

Precious is the heart of love;
may, at length, such hearts be ours;
God, please send down from above
your love and truth divine.
And may they cleanse our willing souls
of earthly ills and make them whole;
for Christ did come to share our toil
and will not spurn our prayers.

Selections Psalm 69
A David psalm

1 God, God, save me! I'm in over my head,

2 Quicksand under me, swamp water over me;
I'm going down for the third time.

3 I'm hoarse from calling for help,
Bleary-eyed from searching the sky for God.

4 I've got more enemies than hairs on my head;
Sneaks and liars are out to knife me in the back.
What I never stole
Must I now give back?

5 God, you know every sin I've committed;
My life's a wide-open book before you.

6 Don't let those who look to you in hope
Be discouraged by what happens to me,
Dear Lord! GOD of the armies!
Don't let those out looking for you
Come to a dead end by following me--
Please, dear God of Israel!

10 When I poured myself out in prayer and fasting,
All it got me was more contempt.

11 When I put on a sad face,
They treated me like a clown.

12 Now drunks and gluttons
Make up drinking songs about me.

13 And me? I pray.
GOD, it's time for a break!
God, answer in love!
Answer with your sure salvation!

14 Rescue me from the swamp,
Don't let me go under for good,
Pull me out of the clutch of the enemy;
This whirlpool is sucking me down.

15 Don't let the swamp be my grave, the Black Hole
Swallow me, its jaws clenched around me.

16 Now answer me, GOD, because you love me;
Let me see your great mercy full-face.

17 Don't look the other way; your servant can't take it.
I'm in trouble. Answer right now!

18 Come close, God; get me out of here.
Rescue me from this deathtrap.

19 You know how they kick me around--
Pin on me the donkey's ears, the dunce's cap.

20 I'm broken by their taunts,
Flat on my face, reduced to a nothing.
I looked in vain for one friendly face. Not one.
I couldn't find one shoulder to cry on.

26 They gossiped about the one you disciplined,
Made up stories about anyone wounded by God.

29 I'm hurt and in pain;
Give me space for healing, and mountain air.

30 Let me shout God's name with a praising song,
Let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks.

31 For GOD, this is better than oxen on the altar,
Far better than blue-ribbon bulls.

32 The poor in spirit see and are glad--
Oh, you God--seekers, take heart!

33 For GOD listens to the poor,
He doesn't walk out on the wretched.

34 You heavens, praise him; praise him, earth;
Also ocean and all things that swim in it.

35 For God is out to help Zion,
Rebuilding the wrecked towns of Judah.
Guess who will live there--
The proud owners of the land?

36 No, the children of his servants will get it,
The lovers of his name will live in it.
A David prayer

It always strikes me how constant is the human condition. I am used to reading this Psalm in other language -- KJV for comfort or NRSV for study. The Message translation puts fresh eyes on me. How contemporary is this? Can you hear how it speaks today to our human condition. It stuns me.

And from 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 (NRSV)
11 These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall.

13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Note: Verse 13 -- the "you" is first singular, then plural. This is where the KJV can be superior with it's thee and thou's, you's and ye's. We are tested, yes, but can provide a way out so that you -- in community -- can endure it.

Dearest Lord,
All I can do is pray.
Your Son commanded us to love our enemies:
Lord God, I pray that you lead them and us from prejudice to truth;
deliver us all from hatred, cruelty, and revenge;
Lord in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you
and reconciled to one another.

God, you made us all in your own image
Lord, you have redeemed us all through Jesus your Son:
Look with compassion on all of us;
take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts;
Our hearts are riddled through with worms of bitterness and selfishness
We are throughly tainted with sin.
Break down the walls that separate us
Break through boundaries
Unite us in bonds of love;
and work through our struggle and confusion
So that we may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

No comments: