Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Balm of a Psalm

We are back to doing daily Morning Prayer at St. John's, and not a moment too soon. The timing of Lent falling completely within the 60-day legislative session when things seem to be in a free-fall of madness in the city is perfect. Today, as we gathered as a community in prayer, I had the images of Tuesday on my mind, along with what I saw playing out in Wisconsin on Wednesday.
Here enter Psalm 37. Just a portion of it read:

The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash at them with their teeth.
The Lord laughs at the wicked,
because he sees that their day will come.
The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow
to strike down the poor and needy,
to slaughter those who are upright in their ways.
Their sword shall go through their own heart,
and their bow shall be broken.
It has often been the case that the psalm assigned for the morning has a way of tapping into the reality of either what I'm feeling personally or what I'm observing. Today, it was both. I've listened to my friends and my clients as they unload their fears of what they are seeing happening all around them in the state agencies. People joke about whether this state department or that one will be in existence by the end of the 60 days. They're joking... sort of... because with a state legislature that is seriously contemplating putting golf courses in the state parks... nothing is beyond the realm of the possible. As I listen, I can feel the grief. And all I can do is be an empathetic ear. Yes, I will go hold a sign on a busy street corner, decrying the works of "the wicked." That's the least I can do. But I also know that this is not the time to hardened my heart, and for every moment that I stand with union organizers, teachers, students... I know that I also need to sit with the person who feels the weight of the situation as a jabbing pain between the shoulder blades.
The psalms provide me with "the message" and the words of wisdom that I need to both act as a protester and a peaceful listener. Because what is going on in the world is beyond me, and in the hands of God. And this is where I have to place my hope and my trust.

The little that the righteous has
is better than great riches of the wicked.
For the power of the wicked shall be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.

I pray for the patience to stay with the trust that God has all of us in hand and is moving in-between the poles of our debates.

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