Psalm 130 – once and again

Here I am again, God, crying to You,
Please listen, please help, please have mercy
I have failed again, of course
I smile outside while inside I am angry and disparaging
Disparaging: a new D in my firmament – my dark firmament of Ds
I know You forgive me quicker and more completely than I forgive myself
I know that is a fearfully, delightfully, wonderful thing
But does it help me? Will I be a better friend, mother, sister, daughter, lover
I wait for You, God, I wait and I hope
Right down to the bottom of my soul I wait, and I’ll go on waiting
Through my dark night, through my dark night
Hoping, trusting, believing that the morning of Your light will come
With Your steadfast love, with Your full redemption, with Your saving grace
You will redeem me from all my sins, my faults
I wait, I hope, I pray
I don’t suppose You could hurry it up a bit, could You? Amen.

Psalm 130 – again

Despite my dark doubts and confusion
Once again, I come crying to You, God
Hoping You exist, hoping You will hear me
Hoping You will help me
Because if You don’t, who will, who can
I’m scared, I’m getting everything wrong again
I feel hopeless
Until I remember You, until I hope in You
Until I remember Your forgiveness
Your steadfast love, Your unfailing faithfulness
And so I have to wait, wait with hope for You
But it’s so hard to just wait
Wait through this darkness
Wait through this doubt
Wait through this confusion
Wait for Your light to show me the way
The way, the truth, the life
Wait with hope, and belief in Your steadfast love
Your great power to help me, to save me
Because I am Israel’s daughter and You are my God and Savior. Amen.

Psalm 121

Remembering Gordon

Gordon thought the psalm meant that help was coming from the hills
I thought it meant that danger was coming from the hills
Gordon lived in assurance – he knew that God had him
Through the hills and valleys
Whether Gordon was faithful or faithless (be it to God or family)
When Gordon looked up, he always saw God, knew God’s saving presence
For me, wherever I look, I see danger and doubt
Often, too often, darkness and despair
Help! Where is there help for my hopeless helplessness?
Ah yes, there is God – creator of heaven and earth
Surely, God is powerful enough to help me
God doesn’t forget me, God doesn’t desert me
God shelters me from my own despair
God shields me from my terrible defeats
God saves me from death
God keeps me from evil
God keeps my joy and my sorrow, my light and my darkness
My triumphs and my failures, my loves and my hates
God keeps ME – from this time on and forevermore. Amen.

Psalm 122

Gladness fills my heart when I turn to You, my God
When I live within the comfort of Your Word
Not Your man-made images
Not the self-righteous religious
Not sermons or books
But within Your life within me
Within the sureness that Your goodness and mercy
Surround me, like a holy city
A holy city of love and justice
Ageless and eternal
A city with Your throne in my heart
Your throne of loving judgement
And wise choices
Within me, within each of Your children
Ah, God my Savior and Wisdom
I pray that I may love You
I pray to live within Your peace and security
Let me reflect Your goodness and love for all
Let me work for Your peace for all. Amen

Psalm 123

To You I lift up my eyes
To You, enthroned in my heart, my history, my memory
As the eyes of a servant
Look to her mistress
So my eyes look to You, my God
Until You have mercy on me
So, please, let it be so
Have mercy on me, O God
Have mercy on me
I have had more than enough of my own thoughts
My scorn for my failings
My pride for my successes
Have mercy on me, O God. Amen

Epiphany Sunday

Bitingly cold
Mom moves even more slowly
Than usual

Afternoon mass
In a nursing home’s
Round meeting room
With large windows
It’s light and warm
Even on this freezing day

The priest waits quietly
On a folding chair
At the altar’s side
Small portable altar
Small portable keyboard
Small portable lectern
White linen cloth over the altar
Paten and chalice
Water and wine
Hosts and linens
Candles and altar book
All in place

A simple mass begins
We sing We Three Kings
Everyone stays seated throughout
Mostly elderly residents
Some with family members
Walkers and wheelchairs
Cracking, catching voices
Wandering attention
Long lives lived
Who knows how
To bring them here
To this home, this time
This mass, this community

Mass continues
Readings, prayers, familiar hymns
Then the words of consecration
“This is my body”
Elevation of the host
Someone coughs
“This is my blood”
Elevation of the chalice
The highly polished gold chalice
And I see
I see the room and the people
Reflected on the cup of the chalice
Like a wide angle lens
The chalice captures and holds us all
Imprinted shining
On the golden chalice

We are so lucky
We do not have to follow
A strange star
To an unknown destination
God comes to us
Where we are
Gathers us in
A shining community

A reflection
A revelation
An epiphany

Psalm 124

Let me remember it, feel it, say it
If it had not been for God who is on my side, always
If it had not been for God
My enemies, those treacherous thoughts and feelings
Would have swallowed me alive
My anger would have burned up my peace
My doubts would have drowned my faith
My distress would have washed away my joy
I would have drowned in the raging torrent
Of unruly emotions
Blessed be You, God
You, Who has not given me as prey
To the teeth of my own discontent
I have escaped, flown free like a bird
Like a young bird flying to the shelter
Of a mother’s wing
Escaping my own traps and snares
My help is in the name of God
God Almighty, Who made heaven and earth. Amen

Psalm 125

May I please be, just for once, like Mount Zion
With faith unmovable, abiding in God forever
As the mountains surround Jerusalem
May God surround my life
From this time on and forevermore
God, please, keep me from wickedness
Keep me from doing wrong
Protect me from my terrible Ds*
Be good to me, please, God
I try, I do try, though I fail so often
Do not leave me to my own crooked ways
Do not let my heart wander into evil
Rather, may Your peace be upon me always. Amen
*terrible Ds: doubt, depression, deceit, darkness, despair…