Proper 6, Year One
[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 88 (morning) // 91, 92 (evening)
1 Samuel 3:1-21
Our Psalmist this morning reminds God, bitterly and desperately, that those who have died can no longer praise him. In the Psalmist’s world, death is a place where no one can thank God, know God’s loving-kindness, or speak about God’s wonders. This Psalm helps us to recognize the death of any one of God’s people as an irreparable loss.
Here are the questions that the Psalm asks God in despair and defiance at a God who could let terrors overtake us: “Do you work wonders for the dead? Will those who have died stand up and give you thanks? Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave? Your faithfulness in the land of destruction? Will your wonders be known in the dark? Or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?” In short, how can God possibly permit or defend the death of his people?
Today, there are nine people who will never stand up and thank God, never speak of God’s loving-kindness, never see God’s justice in their country, never sense God’s faithfulness in their church. Our Psalm today declares that nothing in our faith can take away the permanence of that loss.
And as the Psalmist intuits, there is no fathomable reason why God would let people slip through his fingers or from his memory, “Lost among the dead . . . Whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.” Yet if, in fact, death does not separate us from the mind and hand of God, the loss of God’s people is no less a thing to grieve, with our Psalm today, bitterly and desperately.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.