This blog provides a meditation on the Episcopal daily readings along with a headline from world news:
WOMAN BOMB EXPERT KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN
PSALM 102: 18-28
Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
19 that he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
21 so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.
23 He has broken my strength in mid-course;
he has shortened my days.
24 ‘O my God,’ I say, ‘do not take me away
at the mid-point of my life,
you whose years endure
throughout all generations.’
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence.
“There is no good prayer which cannot be spoken by all Israel,” The Baal Shem said. Whether the experiences behind this psalm are individual or communal it should be interpreted as a prayer of God’s children. They long for God to be praised for his attention to their need for justice, but they admit that it’s not very evident. Indeed their future is threatened. Comfort is found in contemplating the everlastingness of God, who may after all give security to children’s children. It’s a poignant expression of faith discovering that it has no visible means of support: God does not obviously protect his faithful people. It’s good to contemplate this sense of dereliction without any Christian interference.
17After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 6 ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
The hour is the day of engagement with evil and death; the glory is the cross. The loving sacrifice and utter opposition to all evil are the glory Jesus had in the Father’s presence before the world existed. The oneness of God’s life is communal as it includes all who know him. Jesus prays that this oneness –the oneness of God’s name, his character-may be evident in the community of disciples. They remain “in the world” where their only protection will be “your name that you have given me”, that is, the oneness of abiding love. Only when we have accepted with the Psalmist that there is no supernatural rescue from worldly suffering can we accept the gift that Jesus asks for us.