Monday, August 6, 2012

Paraphrase of Psalm 42

I’m dying of an awful thirst.
Where did he go?
What happened to that life-giving Presence?
There is no water.
I have only my tears to drink.

Voices taunt me.
“Where is your God?
Did he ever exist?” 

“Yes!”  I answer to silence them.
“I remember joyous moments
Where I was the LEADER
And I was STRONG.”

I comfort myself: 
“Why are you sad?
Put your hope in God.
You weren’t dreaming before.

“Remember the mountaintop moments,
The heights from which you saw God all around you?
Remember when you and He were two rivers
Crashing together into a cascading shower?”

Yes, I remember. 
But the waters are gone.
And my thirst remains.

My voice continues but do I hear an echo?
At least I’m talking to You and not about You. 

“Where did you go?
Why did you forget me?
I ache with loneliness
And I’m left with only those voices that taunt me: 
‘Where did your God go? Did He ever exist?’”

But I still have a voice:
Why so sad? Why so disturbed?
Let hope be your compass and keep moving.

I raise my voice once more 
To sing the song of victory again. 
The thirst remains
but it drives me onward. 
The water is still there, somewhere. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012


A sacrament is a holy act of God that celebrates his grace and presence in our lives.   

Baptism is a sacrament in which we experience the symbol of cleansing and rebirth. It’s not just the individual’s moment with God, but the witnessing congregation’s as well.  Last Sunday when we baptized a young child, it was not her act of obedience, but God’s act of grace which blessed not just her, but her parents and family and all of us who were watching. 

It was also our opportunity to join with God and express our love and commitment to the child. 

The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament in that it allows the presence of Christ in our midst. Again, it is not our act of obedience, but rather Christ’s gift to us.  As we take in his body and blood, we take in his love and grace. He embraces us in his compassion and reminds us that we are worth a great price. 

I’m not sure why it’s so hard to hold onto the idea of sacrament. Even those of us who know better are often tempted to turn them into acts of grudging obedience, as if they were something difficult or unpleasant, which leads us to turn these gifts into points of contention where we would deny people God’s gift.

“You HAVE to do this or you’re not a child of God!” 

“You MUST do this the proper way to be right with God.” (and I am the only one doing it right).

Such sentiments indicate that grace is still a total mystery to some of us.  That’s a shame because we can’t give it until we have it.