This morning in the Morning Office we say in psalm 102 ” let my cry come before you” and I wonder if we really do. What would it mean for us to really cry out to God? It would mean that we believe that God exists. It would mean that we believe that God is listening. It would mean that we believe that God can and might do something about what concerns us.
There is so much injustice in the world and often there can be a lot in our lives or at least near our lives. Abuse, manipulation, lies, slander, unkindness, envy, and the losses of that which would seem rather basic to life such as love, intimacy, connection. But we Anglicans can be so staid, so stiff, so elegantly poised; not aware that the whole world can see us seething very slightly beneath the surface of our masks. We nod politely when people ask how we are and “fine” when nothing could be further from the truth. personal and institutional pride and arrogance sets up a fake facade – powdered wigs, white face cream, jewels, accents – 17th century aristocrats come to mind – caught behind dress-up which mist have made their lives into a living hell of impressive isolation.
Lent is a time to cry out to the Lord, and I do not mean weeping and bowing and scraping about our sins. Sure, do that. But also might we cry out to God about injustice? Might we use the psalms as a model for how David spoke (or sang out) to God, complete with charges of divine misconduct? Why do bad things happen to good people? And worse, why do bad people seem to so often win the day? Who is paying attention? Is God?
So I plan to do some crying out to God this Lent.
The flower in this image has two layers. The dark red seems to play host to the pink, soft interior which then sets off the yellow advertising nature does for its procreation. It reminds me that within the red of worship, prayers, hymns, polite (if vapid) coffee hour conversation, there lies an hot, pink interior in which we might feel able and willing to get real with this God who so wants real relationship. Does God only want formal prayers repeated so often that we can say them while making grocery lists; or does God want to wrestle, tumble, fight, make up, hear our real longings, our real desires, our real anger at unjust systems – what is really going on in our hearts. Might Lent be a time for real, raw, rough, ready relationship with the God who is willing to let us cry out and who, through Jesus, screams back “I know, right?!!!”