Seeker: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.”
Preacher: The Lord God hears us where ever we are, and whatever our circumstances are. Whether it is a cry, or a yell, or a cheer – we are heard by the Divine. When we cry out, the response may not what we though it would be, or even when we thought it would be – but the Divine will respond.
Seeker: “He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.”
Preacher: I am never surprised that, or when, the Lord God picks us up from the most horrendous places. The Divine is faithful. The world and earthly circumstances may put us in places we may never go of our own volition; or that we would not intentionally put ourselves. On the other hand, humanity has been known to get itself in the most terrible places and circumstances. But my point is, the Lord God will find us. And restore us.
Seeker: “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.”
Preacher: Fear? If the psalmist means revere the Lord God and be awed by the Divine, yes fear is the correct word. But humanity rarely puts their authentic trust in someone or something they fear. Desperation, though, leads us to desperate actions. To our remorse and shame.
Seeker: “Happy are those who make the LORD their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.”
Preacher: Ah! There we are. Trusting in the Lord God is the best decision a person can make. And to keep making that decision. Oh yes, we have to keep that decision ongoing.
Seeker: “You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.
Preacher: How, humanity, can you decide against the Lord God after having decided for the Lord God. How can humanity go astray? I know we do; from the earliest story of the called and chosen people up to this day, we have turned from the Lord God. But as you say, we can turn back to the Lord God . . . . time and time and time and time and time again.
Seeker: “Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.”
Preacher: It is those of us . . . . who have opened our ear to the Lord God . . . . who should know better than to go astray. And it is to our remorse that we do. How sad and bitter it is to find we have lost ourselves, and then find ourselves apart from the Lord God the Divine. As I reminder to myself, I have a piercing in my ear that I had put in at my graduation from seminary. It does remind me, especially when I need reminding!
Seeker: What does it remind you of, Preacher?
Preacher: “Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
Seeker: What have you been called to do, Preacher?
Preacher: “I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.”
Seeker: And when you realize you have gone astray, how do you come back to the Lord God? What do you say to the Divine that might wash away the remorse and bitterness you feel?
Preacher: “Do not, O LORD, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.” (Psalm 40:1-11)
Seeker: I think, preacher, the greatest lesson you could teach is that you have gone astray, but have been welcomed back by the Lord.
Preacher: Selah, Seeker, Selah!