This evening finds me in the space of supplications, offered by Psalms 53, 54, and 55….
“Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.'” from 53, NRSV.
These are heartfelt psalms, words of pleading and searching, wanting God to be present and helpful in overcoming their adversities.
“God looks down from heaven
to see if there are any who are
who seek after God.”
And the heartfelt plea of 55:
“Hear my prayer, O God;
do not hide yourself from my petition.
Listen to me and answer me;
I have no peace, because of my cares.” (BCP version)
When I have run across these Psalms, I realize the power, the meaningfulness they have for folks who are struggling. I realize and remember the meaning they have had for me at certain times in my life. That is why the Psalms are so important, and why the Camaldolese hold them so close to their heart. They truly do embody the full spectrum of our existence.
A life of faith is not one of ease. Faith means (or should mean) practicing one’s faith in every day life. It is a lifestyle, a way of life, a way of realizing one’s greater meaning–and dependence upon God rather than upon oneself (see Psalm 49 and the reflection on our contingency.
I love the words Nan Merrill puts with Psalm 55. They hook me this evening:
“Give ear to my prayer, O Beloved,
and hide not from my
Listen to me, and answer me; for,
I am overwhelmed by anxiety,
I am tormented by the noise of
because of the oppression of
They keep me bound in a prison,
and, like bad company,
they enclose me in darkness.”
I love the way Merrill focuses our oppression not only o outside forces, on someone or something “out there.” Rather, she invites us to reflect on the ways our illusions hold us hostage. Our illusions are our greatest oppressors, the source of our greatest inhibitions.