Praying the Psalms – Reflection for the Second Sunday in Lent 2019
On Ash Wednesday, we heard the invitation to a holy Lent through the practices of self-examination, repentance, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word. Last Sunday, we heard again in the Exhortation the call to self-examination and repentance leading to confession and the reception of forgiveness and reconciliation. The object of all of this self-examination is not the cultivation of guilt but rather the cultivation in the deepest hidden parts of ourselves of an openness to the transforming power of the Gospel to heal and restore us.
We may hide these wounds deep within ourselves because we are unable to face them alone. When we do face them, we are often afraid to bring them before God. We may not know how to name or control the emotions evoked by these wounds. We might desire to fix ourselves before we come before God so we can present ourselves as “good,” whatever we think that means. If we are honest, we would rather remain broken and wounded than have our defects uncovered and healed.
Fortunately, the Psalms give us the voice and the courage to bring the full range of our emotions before God. In the Psalms, we can find our loneliness, our doubt, our fear, our anger, our frustration, our comfort, our joy, our praise, and any other emotion we experience. We also find God right there with us. As we learn to pray the psalms, we find the prayers through which God does not necessarily change our circumstance, but by which God changes us in the midst of our circumstances.
As we prepare ourselves during this season of Lent to experience the depths of God’s love for us through the suffering and death of Christ and await the glorious power of that same love to heal and transform in the Resurrection, I invite you to journey through the psalms and allow them to give voice to the hurting places within in you so that you may offer these into the healing love of Christ.