Light two candles…begin your prayer time by lighting the first purple candle, the Hope candle and the second purple candle. The “Peace” candle…or the Prophecy candle…
READ: Psalm 126
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
This, one of several Songs of Ascents in the Psalms, does two things. First, it gives witness to the work God has already done in the lives of God’s people. And secondly, it gives voice to the promise that God is not done yet. That God will continue the saving and redemptive work started at the beginning of our time.
But the stuff in the middle…what about that stuff? No, I am not talking about verses of the Psalm here. I am talking about life. Our lives.
Being a Christian means tension.
It means gray. Often in our society though, at least in North America, we hear messages of Biblical “truth” and proclamation often used to point fingers or shame. __________ is a sin. We have an assortment of words to define sin, and often we assign particular “actions” or “behaviors” to this word. Martin Luther had a different sorta view. Sin is “navel gazing.” Or better said, turning in on ourselves. Thinking we know what is better for us than God knows. It is lack of trust.
If we really pause to think about this reality, we will see how assigning deeds to sin hurts us and others. We can feel unworthy and begin pulling away from God or the community because we feel we can never measure up. We push others from the community who feel broken beyond repair. But as we often do, we make it more complicated than it needs to be. We try to “answer” all the questions. We try to justify actions and why someone doesn’t belong. We try to have a black and white for everything…gray is uncomfortable. But individual actions are not isolated from the saint or the sinner in us…at least not as long as we are here and await the return of our Messiah. We are children of God, broken as we may be, and this is uncomfortable, especially if we don’t understand it.
The Psalmist was living in that tension well. The Psalmist broke it down to two simple things…neither of which were about us…but about God. God, you have done marvelous things…and (because we know we still need it)…please keep doing those marvelous things…keep saving us…keep forgiving us…keep providing for us…and for others…for all the nations…and as such…those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy.
God of Redemption, from the beginning of our time, you have worked to save us from ourselves without ceasing. Don’t stop working on us, with us and for us. We need your work in our lives. We need your forgiving work to be so potent that we can’t help but share it with others. Give us the awareness and strength. In the name of your Son, we shout these cries of joy. Amen.
How is God working on you? What is your uncomfortable gray? Share with a friend or in the comments below.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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