Psalm for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

Lent has felt like a wilderness this year. It began without ashes for me and I haven’t found a rhythm to the living of these days.

Two weeks ago, I wandered through the streets of Cologne with one of my oldest friends. We met through church. He pointed out how many years ago though I will not repeat it. We met here to see the cathedral (that’s the photo above) and really that’s all there is to see in the city and so we ended up talking a lot about church. There is so much that is happening in the church right now that I feel like I can only watch. Longtime colleagues are leaving the ministry. Friends are being hurt. Love for this institution has burned and I find myself filled with grief.

At the same time, the institution is changing. The world is changing and it feels like there is so much that still needs to improve. It seems like we are making strides forward and then we backslide. Justice hasn’t become fully known. Peace seems faraway but there is hope. I can’t give up on hope. Nor let go of the amazing power of God’s love that continues to hold us through all of this stuff.

When Maren Tirabassi asked me to write for the Living Psalms Project of the United Church of Christ on Psalm 130, I loved the pilgrimage image on Working Preacher. It appeals to the sense of adventure that is my constant while living in Europe. We never know what is going to happen but we keep going. I love the idea that we are all together on these travels making our way toward something we can’t quite see or imagine but believe is possible. That feels like Lent but there is still some sense that we will never get there. The kids are demanding to know how much longer. They’ve refused to take another step and have thrown themselves on the ground in protest. (This is also my constant.) Still, somehow, we pick each other up and keep going on this adventure.

My riff on Psalm 130 can be here as well as below.

Waiting is just so hard.
You can hear it in our anguish and frustration, can’t you, God?
We are so tired of waiting. Don’t make us wait anymore.

We have trod down this road full of expectation 
so that now we struggle to stand firm.

We are worn and tired 
by what hasn’t yet become real.
Dear God, we are so tired of waiting.
Don’t make us wait anymore. Please.

We have changed
but you have not. 
Nothing about you, O God, is different.
Your love still carries us.
It rises with us in the morning, 
wipes slumber from our eyes 
and encourages us to keep traveling 
toward hope.

O God, make this way with us
so that we do more than watch.
Carry us into you it hope.

Though I am not writing as many prayers here so much anymore, I started sharing prayers in Prayer Threads. Many of the prayers are fueled by the work that I’ve so honored to do in spiritual direction. I hope to add a few more accounts of our travels here though. We have been on some amazing adventures while here in Germany and are about to go on one more next week!

I also finally figured out how to share some of the things I’ve been working on over on Dandelion Marketplace and have launched my Holy Threads shop. There are some familiar things there that you may have seen in my kitchen but there will be some new things there soon including a series of downloadable personal retreat materials. There is some other really good stuff over there. You should check it out like this for your Easter worship planning or even personal reflection during Holy Week.

Blessings to you in these last few days of Lent, dear one.

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