Friday, March 6, 2009

Lent Day 9: Mouth Full of Sand Psalm, Plus Morning Coffee, Naked and Laid Bare Version

I follow a different daily lectionary for the psalms than for the other readings from scripture. This is because, the normal (Revised Common) lectionary omits quite a few psalms from the rotation because they are, I assume, objectionable.

I remember reading in one of Kathleen Norris' books (I think it was Cloister Walk) that she could tell the difference, in her years of living in monasteries, between those that read the entire psalter and those that picked and chose. She felt strongly that communities that shied away from the objectionable psalms (Psalm 137, the closing verses, comes to mind. As well as that chilling portion of Psalm 139. The bleakness of Psalm 88.) were places where there was a little less air to breathe, places where relationships weren't quite as healthy because the desire for "nice" was too pervasive.

Under her influence, as well as that of John Calvin (who famously called the psalter "an anatomy of all parts of the human soul"), I have concluded that it is best to read them all, come face to face with the darkness one finds in there... the hate, the anger, the desire for revenge. So, I follow a psalter that rotates through all 150 psalms, the good, the bad, and the just plain scary, over the course of eight weeks.

Well, I got my mouthful of sand this morning. Read this baby. Then, imagine you have reason to think someone might actually feel that way about you (for some strange reason). Then start your day. Have your coffee.

Ah, don't worry about it. There are other gems in the lectionary for you (and me) today. Such as this passage, which is so familiar, and which this morning took my breath away (and washed away the sand with living water):

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:12-16

See what I mean? Living water.


Songbird said...

God *will* bless.
And this psalm describes exactly how I felt when my husband turned on me, when the man who encouraged me to go to seminary told me he didn't want to be married to a minister, when he sat with me and our little baby and told me about the cute baby of the woman he thought he loved instead. Holy crap, was that a mouthful of sand, all right.
Thanks for linking to it, though, because it's a reminder of some of the emotional memories I carry and that still trip me up at times. (And send me to the ice cream freezer at the 7-11.)

August said...

I don't know about the psalms, but I laughed and laughed when you referenced a Kathleen Norris book - because isn't that woman who authored the Acedia book I have maligned up one side and down the other? Good to know you find her other work redeemable!

murat11 said...

Cecilia: Which lectionary do you use? I'll check back here for your answer. Thanks in advance.