psalms for passiontide: Holy Tuesday Psalm 70

Psalm 70 is a psalm for anyone (like me) whose faith seriously wobbles from day to day, moment to moment.  It is a psalm that is a cry for help, and the psalmist needs help in a hurry.  It is full of worry, of panic, and there is a growing sense of urgency as the poet pleads with God to respond:

O Lord make haste to help me!

… You are my help and my deliverer,

O Lord, do not delay!

(Psalm 70.1b, 5. NRSV)

Too often I want a God who is an on-demand-fixer of the discomfort of my now.  Unthinkingly, I absorb the zeitgeist of immediate gratification and transfer it to my spirituality.  I run after new insight, new revelation, new intensity, new sensation, all in a rush to find a reassuring feeling that I am in contact with You.

This psalmist asks for immediate deliverance from the situations where she is criticised, ridiculed and mocked; situations where it feels like everyone is against her; situations where she feels persecuted for being who she is.

This psalmist runs to God for sanctuary:

Let all who seek you

rejoice and be glad in you.

(Psalm 70.4 NRSV)

Suddenly I am pulled up sharp by this reminder to rejoice.  In the midst of all my frantic need for real change of the situations I find myself in, I am asked to rejoice?

I am asked to rejoice in You.  I am asked to rejoice in Your steadfast love, in Your constancy, precisely at the very moment when I feel most in danger.  And in order to rejoice I have to stop my hamster-wheel anxiety and be still; become utterly present to the I AM.

You are my present.  Your presence with me is joy. 

All the faith and trust I ever might need is in that statement.  So I repeat that reconnection with Joy, again and again, growing gladness in me with every repetition.

In the midst of all my sorrows, God keeps calling me out to gladness: there are always, always, things to rejoice over, if I will but look. 

Again I pray with the psalmist whose words I read yesterday:

open our eyes to light

(Psalm 36.9 The Message).

Again I pray with the psalmist whose words I read on Passion Sunday:

shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life

(Psalm 51.10 The Message)

exercising my rejoicing muscles (bl)exercising my rejoicing muscles. (iPhone image).

Published by Kate Kennington Steer

writer, photographer and visual artist

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