Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fifth Thursday in Lent

Psalm 131Jeremiah 26:1-16Romans 11:1-12John 10:19-42

The psalms are prayers that run the whole gamut of human experience. They are rich in literary devices and can convey powerful messages. Some are so even though they may be extremely simple in construction. I have chosen to write about psalm 131, a very sweet little psalm from today’s readings.

For me, one of the dearest mental images found in this psalm is that of a child with his mother. “Like a weaned child with its mother is my soul within me.” What a lovely image! What a sense of peace and tranquility it conveys. I think the word “weaned” is an especially appropriate word choice. If you have ever noticed how grabby and desperate and needy a hungry, nursing child can be, you know what I mean. But a weaned child has come to trust that his needs will be met. He is able to enjoy a more peaceful relationship because he feels safe and secure and loved. The psalmist states that his soul enjoys just such a relationship with God.

How did that happen? We may wonder. And the psalmist answers, “I have stilled and quieted my soul.” Really! He stilled his own soul? I wonder how he did that. And once again the psalmist answers, “I do not concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me.”

But wait! Aren’t we living in a culture that is constantly concerning itself with great matters? Don’t we value, even revere, intelligence, hard work, ingenuity and creativity? Is that wrong? I think not. But, I do think we have overdone it a bit. In our highly competitive, goals- driven, over-worked, over-scheduled lifestyles, we have left very little time for feeding our souls. And it seems that it is up to us to change that.

So, during Lent, perhaps we could lighten up on ourselves a bit—unplug, shut down, free up some time to just sit in a chair and quiet our souls for some quality time with our Father.

— Jane Butler

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