Preacher: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.”
Seeker: I can imaging Jesus the Messiah praying such a prayer while in the wilderness, striving with the wild beasts, debating with Satan, and being grateful for the ministrations of the angels.
Preacher: That is a wonderful image, Seeker. Both a prayer of petition and thankfulness for blessings and mercies received.
Seeker: “O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.”
Preacher: I imagine the psalmist must have had times of testing, to have penned such a prayer and entreaty to the Divine.
Seeker: “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.”
Preacher: It is hard for me to imagine though, that Jesus needed to ask the Divine for guidance.
Seeker: I was thinking the same thing, Preacher. We do not know, do we, how much of Jesus’ humanity was intermingled with the Divinity that was his birthright. But if Jesus prayed for knowledge and strength, we who are completely human should do it more often than we do currently.
Preacher: No matter how much we do know, Seeker?
Seeker: Yes, Preacher. If, as you have taught me, prayer is simply conversation and communion with the Divine, then we should all pray more – no matter how much we pray now.
Preacher: You have learned well, Seeker, and you teach & remind me of these things.
Seeker: “Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!”
Preacher: Here the character and knowledge of the psalmist comes through – the mercy and the steadfast love the Lord is well established in his experience. That is also something that should be established in our experience.
Seeker: I am not sure what you mean, Preacher? The mercy of the Lord is unshakable fact, and the love the Lord has is ongoing stretching back to the beginning of creation and stretching forward to the end of time. How could it be more established? Or more experienced?
Preacher: We can know of the existence of something that is far away from us, see pictures of it, have it taught to us. But until we have invited it our lives and incorporated it into our being, we have not fully experienced it. The psalmist says, “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.” (Psalm 25:1-10)
Seeker: And if we do not receive and use that instruction, humble ourselves, and follow the paths of the Lord, we are lost. That is a Lenten journey, but it is done life long. I know of some who live that life.
Preacher: Shalom & Selah, Seeker, Shalom & Selah!