A Day Late and A Dollar Short

31 Mar

Yes, it is a strange greeting for Easter, but I wanted to blog about Psalm 74 during the last days of Holy Week and Psalm 75 on Easter.  So, I will be blogging on Psalm 74 now and later in the day, I’ll do Psalm 75.  It is a very quiet afternoon here in Hagerstown.

Psalm 74 is a wonderful reading for Good Friday.  The writer yells that God has abandoned God’s people.  This psalm give the emotional pain of Jesus’ execution and the sense of desolation experience in that moment.

You walked off and left us, and never looked back.
God, how could you do that?
We’re your very own sheep;
how can you stomp off in anger?

2-3 Refresh your memory of us—you bought us a long time ago.
Your most precious tribe—you paid a good price for us!
Your very own Mount Zion—you actually lived here once!
Come and visit the site of disaster,
see how they’ve wrecked the sanctuary.

The writer invites God to see what has happened to God’s people.  This psalm brings me a sense of what the conquered people of God felt as their enemies came in to their capital city and destroyed the places of worship.  Perhaps you remember when there has been bombing of churches.  It always seems particularly horrible when a church is bombed.  For Israel, the temple was the center of worship and the dwelling place of God.  It is the destruction of the holy place that is being lamented.

4-8 While your people were at worship, your enemies barged in,
brawling and scrawling graffiti.
They set fire to the porch;
axes swinging, they chopped up the woodwork,
Beat down the doors with sledgehammers,
then split them into kindling.
They burned your holy place to the ground,
violated the place of worship.
They said to themselves, “We’ll wipe them all out,”
and burned down all the places of worship.

The writer cries out that there is no sign of God anywhere and there is no one to speak of God.  It is the imagine of Good Friday for me.  A time when violence and bigotry and betrayal ruled the day and I want to shout out, “Why don’t you do something?”  Of course, it is not just the events of Good Friday that make me feel this way; almost anytime the hatred and bullying and meanness seems to win, I want to shout, where are you God.  Then I realize that God is counting on me – and you – to change things.

9-17 There’s not a sign or symbol of God in sight,
nor anyone to speak in his name,
no one who knows what’s going on.
How long, God, will barbarians blaspheme,
enemies curse and get by with it?
Why don’t you do something? How long are you going
to sit there with your hands folded in your lap?
God is my King from the very start;
he works salvation in the womb of the earth.
With one blow you split the sea in two,
you made mincemeat of the dragon Tannin.
You lopped off the heads of Leviathan,
then served them up in a stew for the animals.
With your finger you opened up springs and creeks,
and dried up the wild floodwaters.
You own the day, you own the night;
you put stars and sun in place.
You laid out the four corners of earth,
shaped the seasons of summer and winter.

18-21 Mark and remember, God, all the enemy
taunts, each idiot desecration.
Don’t throw your lambs to the wolves;
after all we’ve been through, don’t forget us.
Remember your promises;
the city is in darkness, the countryside violent.
Don’t leave the victims to rot in the street;
make them a choir that sings your praises.

I know the days of Jesus’ passion have past, but maybe there will be another day soon when we feel like saying, God get on your feet, let’s change thing together.Photo0019

22-23 On your feet, O God—
stand up for yourself!
Do you hear what they’re saying about you,
all the vile obscenities?
Don’t tune out their malicious filth,
the brawling invective that never lets up.

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