Saturday, October 09, 2010

Scripture Saturday--Questions

So many of the night prayers use psalms that cry out to God.  Psalm 87 has a number of questions directed to God.  Many directly question even the existence of heaven itself.

The psalmist tells God that, like the dead, he feels he is cut off from God's care.

I am one of the dead,
like the murdered who sleep in their tombs,
who lie there forgotten,
cut off from your care.

Is it for the dead that you perform your wonders?
Will the ghosts rise up and proclaim you?
In the tomb, will they tell of your kindness?
Will they tell of your faithfulness in the place of the lost?
Will your wonders be known in the darkness,or your righteousness in the land of oblivion?
I think the questions are two fold.  On one hand, the pray-er asks the Lord what could be accomplished if he or she were indeed no longer alive? It is a sort of bargaining with God--Lord, what good would I do if I were no longer on the earth?

On the other hand, they might be real questions of faith.  What happens after this life is over?  Will I be able to praise God from the grave?

Why are these questions asked so much during night prayer? Is it some kind of weird fascination with morbidity?

I think it is because night prayer, or compline, is said right before going to sleep.  The dark hours of the night are when the demons we fight often come out and it is sometimes difficult to keep them at bay.

These brutally honest prayers beg God to help us navigate this confusing and sometimes difficult world we face. I think God can handle questions.  I think he can handle anger and frustration.

The one line reading that follows this psalm is from the book of Jeremiah.
Lord, you are in our midst, we are called by your name. Do not desert us, O Lord our God!
God is there for us.
In the night.
In the dark.
In the confusion
and in the fear.

5 comments:

lamehousewife said...

Thank you Dymphna for the reminder. It is always in the midst of darkness that I have a harder time remembering God's abilities to bring good out of suffering. Beautiful blog, btw! God bless!

Dymphna said...

You're welcome!

TACParent said...

Dark times are difficult, but light is just around the corner. The shorter, darker days are difficult for those with depression and such. This time of year I send extra prayers for them.

Dymphna said...

Yes, absolutely.

Dymphna said...
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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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