On to Jericho...Again: A Reflection on Psalm 31:11b
March 22, 2013
"Those who see me in the street flee from me."
Psalm 31: 11b
Reading Psalm 31 last night, verse 11 hit me hard. There is no escaping the hard truth. I had felt the prick of the line as I typed it. Didn't deal with it then. When I did think about it, honestly, I thought about those times when I have been in distress and felt people avoided me like plague. Too many times I see myself as the central actor in the story. But tonight, I am the passer-by. I am the one who flees and whispers and schemes.
The reflection in Psalm 31 was intended to be instructive in the practice of lectio divina. Facilitate the process, Lib. Guide the reading and the silence. That was my purpose. God had another purpose in mind. O God, You do search me and know me. I sat in the silence after hearing the words of the Psalm, after typing them a week ago and reading through them time and time again tonight. The question surfaced in my heart, "Am I the one who turns away from the other person whose life is so miserable? Who have I ignored? Who is the person from whom I have fled?" Pride is uncovered in all its ugliness; tears rise up within me.
Their faces appear before me... the grief stricken, the out-of-work, the mentally ill... the man beaten up by robbers who lays in the ditch while I pass by on the other side. I am on the road to Jericho, and I have caller I.D. I am techno-savvy enough to avoid and ignore these people who test me. Often I fail them. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
Psalm 31 is the Psalm that begins Passion Week 2013. Perhaps my word for Passion Week is Com-Passion. Compassion for the least and lost, for the ones whose presence I dread, those I scorn, those broken vessels whom God loves best. Give me new eyes and a new heart, Lord. Let Resurrection come soon and death and darkness disappear for all time. May Compassion and Forgiveness come anew, and the fatigue of caring and loving give way to re-newed strength, new hope and a new Light. The weight of the world is not mine to carry; I am prideful if I think it so. You are the strength and hope of the world, O Christ. Rise upon me and all your people; lead us down a new road. Amen.