S (Scripture): Psalm 43
Establish justice for me, God!
Argue my case against ungodly people!
Rescue me from the dishonest and unjust!
Because you are my God, my protective fortress!
Why have you rejected me?
Why do I have to walk around,
sad, oppressed by enemies?
Send your light and truth—those will guide me!
Let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling place.
Let me come to God’s altar—
let me come to God, my joy, my delight
O (Observation): Written in a time when God’s location on earth was likely The Temple, this person yearns for The Temple. This person has been struck down and seeks solace in God and God’s light / truth. The light and truth that will lead this person to God.
Living in a tumultuous time of foreign occupation, this individual (who likely represents all the Jewish people of that time) wants peace and nothing more than justice. Yet this justice eludes the author.
The hope to be found by this individual may not rest solely in The Temple. Perhaps the person of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who came to overcome the power of sin and death – once and for all – is the new location of God on earth. And in the Pentecost event, God’s presence burst forth…fulfilling the hope of this psalmist: that Light and Truth might come and bring God’s people into God’s presence, after all.
A (Application): I’ve take a hiatus from the blog posts during the last week, which was Holy Week for me. As a Lutheran pastor, I and several staff and volunteer leaders are responsible for planning and coordinating several worship services: 10 services in 8 days, to be exact (2 on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. 1 on Holy Saturday – our Easter Vigil service. 3 on Easter.)
And while the focus seems to be on “Temple” worship all week, we see the sanctuary / worship space / Temple as a staging ground for mission. We see the vital importance of gathering for worship and to hear God’s ongoing work of salvation for all as encouragement for mission. We hear and see the Word preached, prayed, and lived out.
Most people these days are feeling rejected and oppressed – whether real or self-imposed. And we ask people to come and gather for worship and time together within community so that they can share one another’s burdens.
In the gathered community, we encounter God. The Easter story was from Mark this year. In Mark’s Gospel, we don’t see Jesus…just an empty tomb. But if we were paying attention to the pre-resurrected Jesus, we may have noticed what was promised in the risen Jesus. In other words, when we saw Jesus heal lepers and the blind and the crippled, we saw the risen Jesus. And when we hear Jesus, we see the Light and Truth the psalmist so desperately seeks.
May you know the risen Jesus. May you be the risen Jesus to others this day.
P (Prayer): Lord, keep sending us into communities of faith for an encounter with you and solace in sharing our burdens with others. Amen.