This is not the first time we hear David cry out in the Psalms. He seems constantly to be in some sort of distress. Not only does he continue to ask God for help; he also continues to trust that God will deliver him. In short, David believes.
I hope I’m never in such a sorry state as David is here, wasting away in body and spirit, despised by those around him. I hope I never feel surrounded by that kind of terror, my life threatened with such intensity.
Certainly, though, I can relate to David in less dramatic fashion when I’ve felt overwhelmed by forces outside my control. When my father was dying and I wasn’t sure I could get to Mississippi from Tennessee in time to say goodbye. When I was felled by a mysterious illness that defied diagnosis and landed me in the hospital for four days. Yes, I cried out to God. But I’m not sure I trusted that I would be delivered from anything. It’s a weak spot in my faith. I doubt whether God will respond; or maybe I’m afraid God’s answer won’t match my expectations.
This passage reassures me, as I hope it does you. For even in the deepest dark, God is there for us. Even when we feel like a “broken vessel,” cast aside and shattered by aspersions, God is there.
The Japanese have a practice of repairing broken pottery with a metallic compound that adds glimmer to the vessel. Kingsugi, which means “golden repair,” turns a cracked pot into a vase veined with gold. This process honors the flaws instead of hiding them, just as God does for David in ancient times and does for us today. David trusts this promise, and we would do well to follow suit.
Lord, help me trust you as much as David trusted you to deliver him from his distress. Remind me that you can repair the cracks in my life. Amen.
The Liturgy of the Palms readings prepare us for Palm Sunday, when Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem in triumph. The psalmist celebrates the one who comes in the name of the Lord, who is celebrated with palm branches. Matthew then tells the story of Jesus, who enters Jerusalem in this way and is greeted with joy, such that the crowds quote Psalm 118. The Liturgy of the Passion points to the end of that week and the coming suffering of Jesus. Isaiah and the psalmist describe being treated with contempt, beaten, and rejected. In reciting the earliest known Christian hymn, Paul in Philippians emphasizes how Christ surrenders his glory and is subjected to humiliation and death. Matthew recounts the passion of the Messiah, who is rejected as the prophets have foretold.
Read Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29. How has God been steadfast in your life? How do you praise God for this continual presence?
Read Matthew 21:1-11. How would you expect a ruler to enter a city? How is Jesus’ entrance the same? How is it different?
Read Isaiah 50:4-9a. What does being a servant of God look like? How does God help you live as a servant?
Read Philippians 2:5-11. Consider the author’s suggestion that Jesus manifests his divinity by being completely obedient to God. How does this change the way you think about the divine image within you?
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