Friday, January 30, 2009
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore me to the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me." Psalm 51:10-12
Some days it seems easy to rise up with the sun and other days facing a new day can be a strain. I have been wrestling for four days with a bug, one that would not leave me for a moment without pain or queasiness. Only when I slept did I get any peace. Being away from home only heightened the illness somehow. Our bodies can be real nasty prison guards at times, binding us, confusing our minds and making us all too aware of our own weakness. I know I hate being sick because I feel so out of control. And yet, it is also times like these that I learn to pray again in a whole new way.
The ancient psalms some how roll off my lips when nothing else comes to mind. I remember once, long ago, as I was being put under for surgery, reciting the 23 psalm, without even knowing I was doing so. I was very young but had been taught many psalms. And there were David's ancient and yet familiar words. And now too, here are these words, these ache for renewal of body, mind and spirit. There is no human that has not felt cast off or isolated, broken open by illness, failure or betrayal. But in the midst of the worst disconnection and weakness, God is actively bringing renewal and restoration, even when we are to weak to see or welcome it. And we are reminded too, that we are never alone, for even in temporary isolation and pain, God is active in the midst of our inability and ache. We are also not alone across the ages, for the life of faith, demonstrated so long ago, reminds us to cry out at every moment to a listening God, who leans in to hear us before we raise our heads or our voices.
Today, I want to be grateful for God's faithfulness in the midst of my very human weakness. I want to remind myself and others that in Christ we are never alone, despite the pain and anguish, God is constantly acting for our healing and renewal. Even when we have no words, ancient words cry out on our behalf. May we all embrace the renewal that God has at hand and offer our hands and voices in service of others. God is best seen in the breaking of bread, as we reach out and offer what we have to others.