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Speaking to the Soul: They Cast Me to the Ground

Speaking to the Soul: They Cast Me to the Ground

Week of Proper 9, Year Two

[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 16, 17 (morning) // 22 (evening)

Deuteronomy 31:7-13,24-32:4

Romans 10:1-13

Matthew 24:15-31

The great gift of our Psalms is that they enable us to pray with voices other than our own. Sometimes a Psalm might align perfectly with the prayer of our own heart. At other times, a Psalm might express the voice of a brother or sister whose circumstances we don’t directly experience. This morning, Psalm 17 is helping me to pray in the voice of others, to grieve with compassion alongside those who live with the daily threat of violence from the powerful.

The Psalmist this morning asks God for refuge, for a hiding place “From the wicked who assault me, from my deadly enemies who surround me.” The Psalmist continues, “They press me hard, now they surround me, watching how they may cast me to the ground.”

“. . . watching how they may cast me to the ground.” In the video footage of the killing of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, we hear a voice yell, “Get on the ground.” We see officers pull Sterling to the ground and pin him there before shooting him multiple times. Sterling is one of many who has been cast to the ground in this way, and left there to die.

The Psalms can open our hearts and our voices to pray with those who long for safety and deliverance from those charged with our protection. And we can appeal to God alongside them, “Let my vindication come forth from your presence; let your eyes be fixed on justice.” Pray for refuge. Pray for vindication. Pray for justice. Especially with a heart for those who have lived without these things for too long.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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I heard someone speak of checks and balances needed in our government. I believe we also need a “check and balance system” in our own hearts. We need to observe or “check” any initial negative reactions and “balance” the equation with actions that build up one another rather than tear down.

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