My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God. For the sparrow has found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself where she may lay her young ones: Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and ever.
Blessed is the man whose help is from thee: in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps, In the vale of tears, in the place which be hath set.For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Behold, O God our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.
For better is one day in thy courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners. For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory. He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.
(In his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps: Ascensiones in corde suo disposuit. As by steps men ascended to the temple of God situated on a hill; so the good Christian ascends towards the eternal temple by certain steps of virtue disposed or ordered within the heart: and this whilst he lives as yet in the body, in this vale of tears, the place which man hath set: that is, which he hath brought himself to: being cast out of paradise for his sin.)
I love Psalm 69, which we read through in the Office of Readings this morning. At times it’s been the official Psalm of my Priesthood.
Save me, God, for the waters have reached my neck.
I have sunk into the mire of the deep, where there is no foothold. I have gone down to the watery depths; the flood overwhelms me.
I am weary with crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes have failed, looking for my God. More numerous than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause. Too many for my strength are my treacherous enemies. Must I now restore what I did not steal?
You know, one day I posted a picture called ‘Agnus Dei’. It’s (obviously) a picture of the Lamb of God, taken from a book of Dover Artwork. It’s currently on my site theme, though I’ll probably change it out soon.
After I posted it, a friend wrote and said I need to find forgiveness for one of my former Pastors. She knew I had put that picture up to get back at him.
But I had put the picture up because I liked it. It echoed the artwork on the Parish’s website only because I had chosen most of the artwork for the site, and had written at the time most of the copy. Obviously there was going to be some similarity.
Frankly, some injustices have occured. And at some point in time I need to tell my story. It’s as simple as that, and it’s just a part of being alive and well.
Not to do so would be dysfunctional. And I know, because I’ve studied the Rules of Dysfunction! Which include silence about such things as injustice, and rigidity in the unwritten rules of non-expression.
God, you know my folly; my faults are not hidden from you.
Let those who wait for you, LORD of hosts, not be shamed through me. Let those who seek you, God of Israel, not be disgraced through me For your sake I bear insult, shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my kin, a stranger to my mother’s children.
Because zeal for your house consumes me, I am scorned by those who scorn you.
I have wept and fasted, but this led only to scorn. I clothed myself in sackcloth; I became a byword for them.
They who sit at the gate gossip about me; drunkards make me the butt of their songs. But I pray to you, LORD, for the time of your favor. God, in your great kindness answer me with your constant help.
Rescue me from the mire; do not let me sink. Rescue me from my enemies and from the watery depths. Do not let the floodwaters overwhelm me, nor the deep swallow me, nor the mouth of the pit close over me.
That being said, I am far from perfect, filled with foibles and defects and, as Psalm 51 relates, ‘my sin is ever before me’ in the eyes of God.
So, when I say I need to relate my experiences in the Priesthood, I’m not trying to shunt blame for any wrongs I may have done. And I’m not trying to ‘get back at’ my former Pastors. To do so would be to get mired down in low level thought processes and to shut down the refreshing sunlight of the spirit working in my life.
Also, I would never break any confidences, or relate in any way shape or form material which may be scandalous to the Faithful (not that there is any of course.)
But, those things which happened in the public eye, things which were said and done which did cause scandal to the Faithful, and to myself, I have no quandaries writing about. Everyone knows such things anyway.
Answer me, LORD, in your generous love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; in my distress hasten to answer me. Come and ransom my life; because of my enemies redeem me.
You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace; before you stand all my foes.
Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak; I looked for compassion, but there was none, for comforters, but found none. Instead they put gall in my food; for my thirst they gave me vinegar.
Conformed to the Cross of Jesus Christ; now that’s a challenge for us all.
We have to learn lessons from life’s trials. Because when we allow God to teach us in our hearts, we are able to grow in wisdom and to be of service to Him in our work with others. I pray to reap the rewards of lessons learned, and to grow stronger in Christ as a result.
Can you believe this next part is a valid prayer on the part of King David?
Make their own table a snare for them, a trap for their friends.
Make their eyes so dim they cannot see; keep their backs ever feeble.
Pour out your wrath upon them; let the fury of your anger overtake them.
Make their camp desolate, with none to dwell in their tents.
For they pursued the one you struck, added to the pain of the one you wounded. Add that to their crimes; let them not attain to your reward. Strike them from the book of the living; do not count them among the just!
Whew! Gracious, Lord Jesus Christ! Have Mercy! Mon Dieu!
But I am afflicted and in pain; let your saving help protect me, God, That I may praise God’s name in song and glorify it with thanksgiving.
My song will please the LORD more than oxen, more than bullocks with horns and hooves: “See, you lowly ones, and be glad; you who seek God, take heart!
Everything always comes down to humility, doesn’t it? To love God with all our heart, all our might, all our mind and all our soul, is to acknowledge that His greatness far surpasses our own.
Humility is a keystone, capstone, cornerstone of the spiritual life.
For the LORD hears the poor, does not spurn those in bondage.
“Let the heavens and the earth sing praise, the seas and whatever moves in them!”
God will rescue Zion, rebuild the cities of Judah. God’s servants shall dwell in the land and possess it; it shall be the heritage of their descendants; those who love God’s name shall dwell there.
Perhaps I will be able to write down my experiences, so that others may find hope in God’s providence. Perhaps God will lead me in a different direction entirely in writing. As long as I pray to discern His will and try to do that, it’ll be for some benefit.
Aside form that, it’s not terribly interesting, and we’ve already established that blogging is not my forte. It’s a relief to realize that my dull, lifeless website is AOK for my rambling rambles, thoughts in prayer, and deeply boring chronicles. A little something for everyone!
What I have learned is to always trust in the Lord, and to remain faithful to Him. All ought flow from closeness with Jesus Christ, or all is for nought.