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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, October 30, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 43             

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy?
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (NRSV)

Reflection
One of the aspects of the psalms I appreciate the most is the sheer candor the psalmist has with God. I see that clearly in this psalm. The psalmist does not try to protect God against her disappointment with the fact that she feels like God has cast her off. To me, it sounds like she is taking God to task when she declares that she has done all she can to take refuge in the presence of the Holy One and yet, because of God’s own actions, she feels isolated and oppressed. The psalmist knows that God is big enough to absorb all of her feelings—including the anger and disappointment she feels against God.

As a result of her candor and her willingness to be vulnerable, something shifts, for she then speaks about how the day is coming when she will once again enjoy being in God’s presence, offering music and praise. It is as if her honesty allowed her to lay down those feelings of grief and frustration, making more space for healing and newness to break out within her. By the end, she is even giving herself a pep talk, reminding herself that Hope will eventually win the day. May I be that bold and honest in my own prayers and songs.

Prayer
O God, please help me remember that I do not need to hide anything from you. You know me as my whole self, and you have invited my whole self into your presence. Give me the courage to be as honest as the psalmist so that I, too, might land in Hope. Amen.

Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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