Lenten Devotion: Too Many Notes
Monday, February 19, 2018
Too Many Notes
Psalm 25 is a very noisy prayer. The psalmist knows that God is merciful and good, a strong protector and willing teacher for all those who come in search of God’s wisdom and help. Overwhelmed with all the cares of life, however, the psalmist erupts in a litany of fear and concern: Enemies! Personal ignorance! A shameful past! The prayer is so cluttered with the psalmist’s problems that God’s praiseworthy qualities are nearly lost in the din.
And yet, like the half-remembered chords of an underlying major theme, the psalmist’s prayers for God’s mercy, love, protection, and guidance are interwoven throughout the exclamations of distress. This trust which the psalmist places in God—and from which the prayers spring—is based in a foundational knowledge of God’s character, as fully voiced at last in verses eight through ten.
Psalm 25 is thus an excellent template for “A Listening Way” during Lent. Lent is the time the Church specifically designates for mourning our ignorance and our sin, both personal and collective, and calling out for God’s mercy and justice. Yet the danger is that in the very act of calling out to God, we can become mired in a myopic focus on our own shortcomings and struggles. The point of Lent is to let go of the weight of all that noise and to hear again those notes we already know but most of the year are too distracted to remember: God loves us; God cares for us; God will protect and guide us; God is gracious and will never forget us. Lent is our opportunity to let the discordant sounds of our own anxieties and obsessions fade away as we listen instead for the sweet, simple melody of God’s amazing grace.
Andrew K. Lee
SFTS/GTU MA 2015
GTU PhD Student