Tag Archives: longing

Longing for God’s Judgments

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, February 4, 2018

Psa 119-20-scroll

Longing for God’s Judgments

I needed to read this verse over a couple of times to Scriptureunderstand it. At first, I thought it was the psalmist exaggerating. (Then, I remembered that this particular psalm writer did not seem to be the exaggerating-type.) I’ll let everyone take a look and see what I mean.

My soul is consumed at all times

with longing for Your judgments.

This verse brings back to my remembrance the fact that the existing Scriptures at this time were not (as a whole) very complete. The Torah—the first five books of Moses—plus Joshua, Judges, and Job, and maybe Ruth. Probably most of 1 and 2 Samuel, maybe some of Kings, and some of the Psalms. Some of Proverbs, too? That’s it, pretty much.

Sure, some of these writings are heartwarming and positive. But, when I hear things like “longing for Your judgments,” somehow I think of things like the Mosaic Law Code. Judgments do not sound very appealing. The longings of the soul sound painful. Not like something I would seek out, willingly.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “On the contrary, it is the experience of the soul’s being consumed and destroyed by this longing that is spoken of here.” [1] This longing for God’s judgments is definitely not a warm, fuzzy feeling. From what Bonhoeffer says, one cannot get it simply by having “pious feelings.” It comes upon us “from God Himself and so must be everlasting.” [2]

However I may wish to have blithe, sunny, simplistic mountaintop experiences with the Lord, that is not what the psalmist is talking about here. This deep-seated longing is “being compelled to seek [God] where reason and experience deny Him, in knowing God’s Word as a power over our life that never lets us go, though all our powers sink into death.” [3]

Such a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of God and God’s Word almost scares me. Certainly, it sobers me. What a thing to strive for. Dear Lord, gracious God, I would strive after such a longing and knowledge and understanding, if I dared.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 132.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Praying for True Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 9, 2015

peace on earth

Praying for True Peace

Peace. Searching for peace. Why is it so fleeting, especially today? The Prince of Peace. I seek His face, the One who brings peace.

Yes, this is Advent, a time of waiting. A time of longing. A time neither here nor there, a time when I acknowledge the First Coming and await the Second Coming. This is most certainly not a time of peace. This crooked, broken world holds wars, rumors of war, fighting, free-floating anxiety, panic, dread.

Yet, I know the Prince of Peace is much more than that. I know the One who brings peace has overcome the world.

Henri Nouwen says, “Keep your eyes on Him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak. He is the source of all peace.” [1]

In this slim book of Advent readings, there is an Advent Action for each day. The action set for this reading for today is to listen to liturgical music. That particular kind of music “can often help us pray and can even help to overcome the chaos of a tense situation at home or elsewhere.… find and listen to a CD of religious music that expresses the calm serenity of waiting for the Christ child.” [2]

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of peace. Thank You for entering into this sinful world, coming to humanity and offering perfect peace to all who come to You. We praise and honor Your holy name. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 22.

[2] Ibid, 23.

Like St. Augustine, My Heart is Restless, Lord

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 8, 2015

sunrise breaking through clouds

Like St. Augustine, My Heart is Restless, Lord

Instead of going forward in The Oxford Book of Prayer, I looked backwards. Back a page, to a little, short prayer of St. Augustine. And, I was struck by it. I’ve known about this prayer for some years, and I repeatedly think about it. Even occasionally pray it. But today, it moved me particularly much.

Today’s prayer is about Longing. I chose it for today, and this brief prayer is also about “Thy Kingdom Come” (Prayer 173, page 64) [1] It actually is a quote from Augustine’s Confessions, which I first read a number of years ago. As set forth in elegant translation in my Oxford Book of Prayer: “Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praises; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee.”

Perhaps it is the translation. (I read the Confessions in a more modern, less poetic translation, years ago.) However, I found these words of Augustine—in this particular translation—to resonate deeply within me.

Such a thought. (!!!) I was made, fashioned, created, for God. I was awakened, after God took joy in my creation, to delight in Him. And not only to delight, but praise! Rejoice! (As the psalmist says, “Such knowledge is too much for me to comprehend.”)

But, wait! That’s not all. God created me expressly for Godself. In my mind’s eye, I can see a Master Craftsman meticulously fashioning me in God’s state of the art workshop. After all, Psalm 139 does mention people being painstakingly fashioned inside of their mothers’ wombs.

I’ll need to think about that for a while. My heart is restless, indeed. I praise God for such words. Indeed, I do.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 64.

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, October 7, 2015

path in Ireland

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Today’s prayer is about Longing. I chose it for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer, and this brief prayer concerns “Thy Kingdom Come” (Prayer 176, page 65) [1]

The prayer I chose for today was written by a Bishop of Utrecht, in what is now the Netherlands, about the year 900. (Thanks to the editor George Appleton for making sure it was translated and readable.) St. Radbod (also known as Radboud) wrote this heartfelt prayer.

Each line is compact, and brimming full of meaning and earnestness.

“Hunger and thirst, O Christ, for sight of Thee/Came between me and all the feasts of earth./Give thou Thyself the Bread, thyself the Wine,/Thou, sole provision for the unknown way./Long hunger wasted the world wanderer,/With sight of thee may he be satisfied.”

Just think. Radbod said sight of Christ came between him and—everything to eat or drink on earth. That doesn’t mean simply a common meal. No, the Bishop mentioned “feasts.” Those are special, sumptuous meals, full of uncommon, fine dishes. And I assume special drinks, as well. So, Christ means more to him than eating and drinking really special foods and drinks.

Could I say that? Does Christ mean more to me than feasting? Usually, yes. But—special, sumptuous meals? Extra-special food and drink? I realize I have a weakness for food and drink. (Yes, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins I need to be particularly concerned about.) Some of it comes from my upbringing. I know food is deeply, significantly associated with comfort for me. From a very early age.

Moreover, Radbod calls Christ “sole provision for the unknown way.” I am assuming the Bishop was thinking of mendicants or pilgrims wandering through the land. They need no extra provisions, because Christ is enough for them. Christ fills them, satisfies them. With Christ as their Provision, their Companion, they are content.

Am I content with Christ as my Provision? Is He enough for me, or do I need more? And more, and more after that? I know I don’t wander the world very much. I’m pretty much a homebody, in fact. But—I ask again—am I satisfied with Christ, my Sole Provision? Dear Lord, such a penetrating question. And, I have no firm answer.

Gracious God, help me to be content. Satisfied. My “Sole Provision for the unknown way” ahead of me. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear my heartfelt prayer.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 65.