O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
What burdens or joys are behind those earbuds and empty stares? As I seek to be mindful of my fellow Metro riders, how many are “thirsting” as the psalmist says? The woman with downcast eyes may simply have had a hard day at the office or she may have received a life-altering diagnosis at the doctor’s office. The couple exchanging a quick goodbye as one gets off the train may be longing to get pregnant or approved for an adoption.
Trust and praise come easily when times are good, but when the days are more challenging? How many of us can say: “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” (Psalm 63:3)
This is recognition of God’s love from deep in the pit, or perhaps on the other side, not a simple, sweet praise song. Time in the wilderness gets tiresome, but it can be a source of creativity and rearranging expectations. The Reconciling movement looks toward General Conference and thirsts for the Holy Spirit to usher in more inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the life of the church. Yet in the days we find ourselves, how are we staying focused on God and God’s faithfulness?
Lent is a particular time for self-examination, but in our Methodist tradition of social holiness, we must similarly reflect on the world around us. We are called not just to change ourselves as individuals, or even just “the church,” but we are called to change the world!
Using language from a resolution passed by the Baltimore-Washington Conference, a UM in West Virginia recently testified at a city council hearing in support of including sexual orientation and gender identity in an ordinance on nondiscrimination in housing and employment. Regardless of what happens at GC, we can all be more active in the public arena, and find our own ways to proclaim that God’s “steadfast love is better than life!”
Photo by Steven D. Martin
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