Bible passages for Sunday

Unfailing

I love this Psalm! I love the poet’s honesty with God when things are going wrong, and God is silent, and there’s no obvious way out of the crisis.  But then he reminds himself of what he knows from experience to be true: God’s love does not fail. God has been good to him. Therefore he trusts God, he ‘rejoices’ in what he has experienced, and will experience again of God’s ‘salvation’ (God’s rescue, God’s healing, God’s gift of wholeness), he ‘sings God’s praise.’

The poet reminds us that it’s OK to complain  to God in our pain, when we don’t know where to turn, when it looks like God has failed us.  But he also encourages us, in our pain, to say ‘Father God, I do not understand, yet I believe. I do not feel your presence yet I believe that you are with me in this darkness I am passing through. Help me to trust you, help me to live with mystery, to say ‘Thank you Father!’

But sometimes the pain is so great that for a while we can only rage against God, and can’t find the way to praise God. We feel it would be dishonest to repeat words of praise which do not echo our hearts.  And that’s OK, I am sure. God does not withdraw from us even though we withdraw from God. And then perhaps a time comes when we realise that we’ve been saying ‘Why Lord?’ and that those words are in fact  an expression of faith. And then something prompts us to thank God, even in the pain, for the divine presence; and we try out the words of praise on our lips, hesitantly, and then repeat them with more certainty; and then perhaps we realise, as the tears come, that God has never left us, and that no matter what, we can entrust ourselves and the mystery of our lives to God.

And then we move forward – two steps forward, and one back perhaps – but still forward, until in time our pain grows less. ‘I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.’

Psalm 13

How long, Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

John 6:35-40

35 Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.’

 

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