(sorry for delay: administrator’s computer broke down over the weekend)
An Outlook for the Day: Psalm 27
The writer of Psalm 27 was a well-balanced person who was having a good day. The dangers, difficulties, and frustrations that could happen are acknowledged, but not feared. They neither occupy the psalmist’s mind nor slow him down. Each potential darkness is met with the declaration that “The Lord is my lightÖwhom shall I fear?” (v 1a) Each potential set-back or defeat is met with the confidence that “The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (v 1b) David is neither paranoid nor naÔve. Rather, he is alive in the Lord, aware of God’s presence, and present within the day.
Worship is on the psalmist’s lips, in his heart, and in his weekly routine. Prayer, for the psalmist, is both petition and praise, spoken and sung. His faith is not just about the afterlife, it exists in his day and in his circumstances. It is dynamic. His day contains activity and waiting-waiting on the Lord; silence as prayer. The psalmist is embracing responsibility as well as releasing his heart and life to God.
Lent is a call to balance, something that is needed in every life. “Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me” (v 6). David can face the realities he sees and hears because he does not face them alone. Worship, both personal and corporate, is woven throughout this psalm. Prayer seems to be conversational. David prays that he might, “live in the house of the Lord all the days of [his] life” (v 4). That doesn’t mean that he wants to move into the chapel, it means he wants to live knowing that God is in him and around him, in front of him and behind him.
David certainly had his share of down days, but he prepared for them in the up times and in the routine times. His routine was not mundane; it was time spent with God. His down days were days of falling back on God and humbling himself before the present God.
Lent calls us to return to that kind of routine, that kind of deep joy and awareness of God’s presence. The key to all of this is found in verse 11. “Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level pathÖ.” There’s a prayer for you, an outlook for the day, a strategy for facing reality: God’s way and a level path. It’s refreshing just to consider it. Lent suggests that we might join David, the psalmist, in his prayers. This is a great psalm to pray. You’ll have to keep your eyes open to read it, but enter into the reading with the same verbal formula you use for prayer. Put, “In Jesus’ name, amen,” at the end of verse 14. Then sit in silence, thinking about what you just prayed/read, and sense God’s agreement and companionship. This is the “waiting for the Lord” that is suggested in the psalm. This is how your heart signs up and “takes courage” (v 14). It’s really quite an amazing exercise.
David says rather confidently and conversationally, “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (v 13). I believe he did; I believe you can. There is light in Lent.
Prayer for today: pray this psalm.
A word about the series
The Lenten season has always inspired many people to create everything from poems, art and music to a completely new direction in their lives. This Lenten season Tabernacle will be exploring many of those creations in the hope of inspiring you to compose in a medium that is natural for you. The paintings in the Sanctuary are of the Biblical Stations of the Cross. The artist, Grieg Leach, completed them in 2010. They will help us to visualize the events leading to the crucifixion of Jesus. In addition to the paintings there is a Lenten devotional booklet, Return to Me, which is available in print or online. The Stations of the Cross also inspired these devotions, written by Terry York of Baylor University. Living with these two bodies of artistic expression based on the Biblical Stations of the Cross throughout the season of Lent should help us as we seek to return our lives to God by walking with Jesus though his final days.
Pray, read, think and return to God.