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Archive for July 28th, 2021

God Speaks

MEDITATION:

Written C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a British writer and lay theologian. This is an excerpt from his book “Reflections on the Psalms.”

If there is any thought at which a Christian trembles it is the thought of God’s judgment. The “Day” of Judgment is “that day of wrath, that dreadful day.” We pray for God to deliver us in the hour of death and at the day of judgment…It was therefore with great surprise that I first noticed how the Psalmists talk about the judgments of God. They talk like this; ‘O let the nations rejoice and be glad, for though shalt judge the folk righteously’ (67:4), ‘Let the field be joyful…all the trees of the wood shall rejoice before the Lord, for he cometh to judge the earth (96:12-13). The reason for this soon becomes very plain. The ancient Jews, like ourselves, think of God’s judgment in terms of an earthly court of justice. The difference is that the Christian pictures the case to be tried as a criminal case with himself in the dock; the Jew pictures it as a civil case with himself as the plaintiff. The one hopes for acquittal, or rather for pardon; the other hopes for a resounding triumph with heavy damages…In most places and times it has been very difficult for the “small man” to get his case heard. The judge (and doubtless one or two of his underlings) has to be bribed. If you can’t afford to “oil his palm” your case will never reach court…We need not therefore be surprised if the Psalms, and the Prophets, are full of the longing for judgment, and regard the announcement that “judgment” is coming as good news. Hundreds and thousands of people who have been stripped of all they possess and who have the right entirely on their side will at last be heard. Of course they are not afraid of judgment. They know their case is unanswerable—if only it could be heard. When God comes to judge at last it will…Christians cry to God for mercy instead of justice; they cried to God for justice instead of injustice. The Divine Judge is the defender, the rescuer…I think there are very good reasons for regarding the Christian picture of God’s judgment as far more profound and far safer for our souls than the Jewish. But this does not mean that the Jewish conception must simply be thrown away. I, at least believe I can still get a good deal of nourishment from it.

PRAYER:

Written by Jill Weber, a contemporary spiritual director and the director of Houses of Prayer.

God, I ask your forgiveness for all the times I’ve gotten it wrong as I try to navigate my love for righteousness and need for mercy. God, purify my motives. Show me the stone in my own hands, help me let it go, and lean into your mercy for myself and for others. God, I am in need of your mercy. I repent of those times I have allowed judgment to triumph over mercy. With gratitude, I receive your mercy today and I step onto the path of righteousness.

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