Monday, February 22, 2021

Tuesday prior to Lent 2


Psalm 22:23-31—In this psalm, David vows to praise the Lord when the Lord’s sure deliverance comes. The vows appear in verses 22 and 25. Verses 23-24 anticipate the calls to praise that will accompany the psalmist’s praise. Verses 26-31 describe the expanding company of those who will take up the praise – a worldwide company of persons form every station in life and continuing through the generations. No psalm or prophecy contains a grander vision of this scope of the throng of worshipers who will join in the praise of God’s saving acts.

An important element of Psalm 22 is verses 29-31. Not only will the living praise God, but all those “who sleep in the earth” (verse 29) and all future generations, “those yet to be born” (verse 31). This psalm of lament is a powerful model for believers today; life confronts us with issues and happenings that sometimes feel unbearable. And so, we cry out to God; we tell God what is wrong; we tell God what we want God to do; we recall those past instances in our lives (or in the lives of those around us) when God has made a way for us to handle the situation; and, then, and only then, we can praise God for God’s goodness and tell others about it.

When Jesus uttered the opening words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” on the cross, he was calling his hearers to remember the words of the whole psalm — “for he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him” (verse 24). Thus, “all the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD” (verse 27).

Collect for Psalm 22: Father, when your Son was handed over to torture and felt abandoned by you, he cries out from the cross. Then death was destroyed and life was stored. By his death and resurrection save the poor, life up the downtrodden, break the chains of the oppressed, that your Church may sing your praises; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. [1]

[1] Collect for Psalm 22, For All the Saints, A Prayer Book for and by the Church Vol. III © 1995 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Illustration  “The Crucifixion” from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures) 

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