Snippets from The Office of the Dead from this morning:
From Psalm 42
My tears have been food day and night; while all day long they say to me, "Where now is your God?"
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul, and why are you so disquieted within me? Put your trust in God, for I will yet give thanks to him, who is the help of my countenance and my God.
I will say to the God of my strenght, "Why have you forgotten me? And why do I go so heavily while the enemy oppresses me?" While my bones are being broken, my enemies mock me to my face."
From Psalm 46
Though its waters rage and foam, and though the mountains tremble at its tumult, the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
It is God who makes war cease in all the world; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the shiled with fire.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
From the Letter to the Romans, Ch. 8
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today there is so much to ponder. I feel sad, and angry, and ashamed at my anger. On sunday we will hear Peter ask how many times to forgive, and Jesus replies with the perfect "Seventy times seven!" I cannot do that. I'm not even sure I can do the bare minimum and name my enemies by name before God. I know that even merely nameing them in prayer, even if I can do no more that that, is powerful and will change me over time. I don't know that I want to be changed, frankly. there's something about anger that is energizing. I think we as a nation still have some of that going on. I don't think we're ready to give up our own anger yet. I don't know what that means, especially given "And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us."
And so today I pray for the dead who died, and rage with Mozart at the terror of death itself:
Day of wrath! O day of mourning! See fulfilled the prophets' warning, Heaven and earth in ashes burning! Oh what fear man's bosom rendeth,when from heaven the Judge descendeth,on whose sentence all dependeth.