Thursday, August 3, 2017
O Lord, hear my plea for justice. Listen to my cry for help. Pay attention to my prayer, for it comes from honest lips. Declare me innocent, for you see those who do right. You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you. I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies. Psalm 17:1-7(NLT)
I’ve often wondered how the people of great reputation in the Biblical accounts could also appear so small, frail, and full of weakness. But as soon as I begin that pondering, reality rises up in my thoughts, that those people are flesh-and-blood, not icons painted on a wall. Of course they have moments, even months or years, when they’re not icons of faith; they’re reminders that we all come from small places.
When we leave the womb we begin to face the possibility of isolation, being alone. And, not being created for aloneness, it troubles us. David spent months being chased into the wilderness places, hounded by an increasingly insane King Saul, former benefactor and mentor (when your friends turn the darkness deepens!). So David spent time hiding in caves to avoid capture and death. Dark caves, silent places, are places where you have no place; you only exist. David spent a lot of time crying-out to God for rescue from his troubled existence.
Did you catch David’s dark weakness when he lifted up his voice to pray?
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray.
David expressed faith (I know you will answer, O God), but the next phrase tells just how very disconnected David senses his prayers are from God: Bend down…, this is the cry of someone who feels very small and very isolated.
This is my liturgy of light for dark places.
There have been a number of times in my life, (and it still happens occasionally), that the aloneness of that small and vulnerable newborn child, just out of the mother’s womb, rises up in my soul and proclaims the profoundness of the darkness that surrounds and would swallow me up! It is then I need the liturgy of light!
Liturgy is something we might connect with a labored, boring responsive reading, or long, drawn-out call and response during the sacraments. Literally, the word “liturgy” is work of the people, our part in offering worship to God. As the people of God offer genuine, heart-felt worship, darkness is dispelled, chased from our lives. That is why whenever you don’t feel like coming to church on a given Sunday…and you go anyway…when you leave church that day there is a general sense of lightness; you feel better for having attended – glad you went!
The darkness had to leave when you emptied yourself in the presence of light!
Got darkness? There’s an app for that…liturgy of light!