Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Psalm 22: HELP (Introduction)

On Sunday I taught on Psalm 22. Our church is in the middle of a series called ‘simply prayer.’ Go here to listen – be sure to click on Media. It looks like the sermons are about a month behind so I’m not sure when the message will be up. But it seemed like it was helpful so I thought I’d break down the message into several blog posts. Since the psalm is fairly seamless, this will no doubt lose some effect, but I hope it will prove helpful along the way.

This is a serious psalm and, while I like to inject humor into my messages, this one didn’t have much room for humor. So this will be pretty steady stream (interspersed with Missional Renaissance posts) of posts that are serious and grapple with the idea of how we cry out to God – even when we’re not sure he’s there. So here we go …

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? – Psalm 22.1
Have you ever been there? I know many from Haiti are there right now. You don’t say this with small things. This isn’t a bad day at work; this is losing your job … and your home. You don’t think this after a flare up of frustration with your spouse; this is the ending of a marriage – either a long, slow deterioration or an instant flare up or betrayal. This isn’t a cold; this is getting the test results back and they’re devastating – even to the point of death. This is an earthquake that kills tens of thousands.

There is a deep, dark place where, in addition to the pain we’re drowning in, we feel betrayed by God. We don’t like to talk about that place, but we can be thankful that Scripture goes here. It gives us permission to be real in our pain, knowing God is real about it.

This is desperation that erases our distractions. Today we’re talking about the crises that focus our minds like lasers – whether we want them to or not. These are the events that, when they come upon us, dominate our hearts and minds. It seems like everything is coming undone. What do we do? Let’s look to the psalm.

Before we do, I want to be clear how we’re going through this. Much like ourselves when we’re processing pain and betrayal, we don’t walk through a systematic outline. This is poetry and it is the poetry of pain. Verse 1 sets the tone for where we’re going. It’s almost a title that the rest of the psalm explains. I want to walk through this psalm of David’s pain with you and let it speak to our pain as it has for so many for thousands of years.

Where do we start? It’s our prayer series, so let’s start with prayer. But before that, we need to recognize the assumption that is behind the psalm. Something terrible has happened … or is happening. Now we’re left wondering what we’re to do. We’ll hit that next post.

1 comment:

Jocelyne Sade said...

I am on the edge of my seat... waiting for the next post. Thank you for going there... I hope to not miss a one.