Updated: Mar 19
Light | Reader – Easter 2020
Silence and stillness before God (2 minutes)
Reading: Psalm 13
How long, LORD? Will you forget me
How long will you hide your face from
I love that the Bible is a relatable collection of books. I didn’t always think that. The Bible was once a book of shame to me. It was simply a book that was used to let me know how bad I was—how much I didn’t measure up. The Bible does more than point out our need for a Savior. It provides examples of God saving people in their times of distress time after time. When the Bible documents the prayers and songs of those who call to him when they have nowhere to turn I am encouraged and get the sense that I am not alone on my journey. No book of the Bible does this for me more than the book of Psalms.
Walter Brueggemann, a theology professor at Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia has given his entire career to studying and teaching the Old Testament—
giving much of his life in particular to the Psalms. In Spirituality of the Psalms, Brueggemann gives us a framework for reading and understanding the Hebrew hymnal. Brueggemann says that most Psalms can be categorized in one of three ways: orientation, disorientation and new orientation.
Psalms of orientation are Psalms where the psalmist is documenting and praising God for His goodness. All is well with the world and blessing abounds. These may be the Psalms we are most comfortable with. These Psalms document the good times. (Ps. 8, 24, 33, 104, 133, 145)
Psalms of disorientation are the Psalms the psalmist writes when the bottom falls out when he is disoriented, left in the dark and cannot see his way through the fog of hardship. These Psalms are the poems and songs of a people of faith who turn to God and wrestle Him for answers. These Psalms characteristically ask questions, specifically the question, “Where is God?” (Ps. 13, 35, 74, 86, 137).
Psalms of New Orientation, are the songs of resolution, Psalms, and poems of victory—a victory attributed to God’s goodness that surprises and often comes in ways that the psalmist least expects it. Psalms that answer the question, ‘Where is God?’ with, ‘Oh! There He is! All is well again.’ (Ps. 29, 47, 93, 97, 98, 99, 114, 148, 150)
This framework follows the movements and experiences of everyday life. A few weeks ago, for many of us, life couldn’t be better. The stock market had reached historic highs, we weren’t worried about job security and all was well in the world. Kids got free lunch at school, grandparents were safe to visit and everyone was hugging and slapping high fives. In just a few weeks, everything changed. We are in disorienting times. The question many of us are asking is, “Where is God in all of this?” Thanks to the precedent of scripture we can ask that question in faith and in due time we will get an answer.
Everything will work out for those who trust Him. How do we know this? Because “…all things work together for [the] good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) But right now, right now, right now, many of us are dazed and confused and that’s fine.
Question to consider this week: How can I be a light in my community and circles of influence this week?
Action step: One way that we can be light to people is to walk beside them through this season of disorientation. If you know someone especially anxious and affected by our times, consider being with them for a few moments. Don’t try to fix them. Don’t rush to give them ‘facts.’ Let them know that you are there for them and that maybe, just maybe you are disoriented too. Remind them that they are not alone and as the Spirit leads bring them into the presence of God in prayer.
Prayer: Lord, I don’t know what’s going on. Whatever is happening, I want you to know that I need you. My family needs you, my friends need you—the world needs you. In your time, in your way, show up and do what only you can do. Be with me today and in the days ahead. Help me to trust you in my disorientation. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Conclude with silence (2 minutes)