Holy Week Begins. In the series of Lenton readings that Quest has been using this year one of the readings for today is the 22nd Psalm . . . it’s a Psalm to be read out loud.
My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?
Why do you remain so distant?
Why do you ignore my cries for help?
Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.
Yet you are holy.
The praises of Israel surround your throne.
Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them.
You heard their cries for help and saved them.
They put their trust in you and were never disappointed.
But I am a worm and not a man.
I am scorned and despised by all!
Everyone who sees me mocks me.
They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
“Is this the one who relies on the LORD?
Then let the LORD save him!
If the LORD loves him so much,
let the LORD rescue him!”
Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
and led me to trust you when I was a nursing infant.
I was thrust upon you at my birth.
You have been my God from the moment I was born.
Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near,
and no one else can help me.
My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
Like roaring lions attacking their prey,
they come at me with open mouths.
My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax, melting within me.
My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
an evil gang closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and feet.
I can count every bone in my body.
My enemies stare at me and gloat.
They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments.
O LORD, do not stay away!
You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
Rescue me from a violent death;
spare my precious life from these dogs.
Snatch me from the lions’ jaws, and
from the horns of these wild oxen.
Then I will declare the wonder of your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among all your people.
Praise the LORD, all you who fear him!
Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
For [God] has not ignored the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned and walked away.
He has listened to their cries for help.
I will praise you among all the people;
I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
The poor will eat and be satisfied.
All who seek the LORD will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
The whole earth will acknowledge the LORD and return to him.
People from every nation will bow down before him.
For the LORD is king! He rules all the nations.
Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.
Let all mortals – those born to die – bow down in his presence.
Future generations will also serve him.
Our children will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
His righteous acts will be told to those yet unborn.
They will hear about everything he has done.