Lamentation to Adulation: Every Psalmist’s Perilous Journey

By Ken Sehested

“If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” —Psalm 139:8

Blessed One, whose name we dare not speak, but of whose
Presence we dare not remain silent, we stand before you
with hearts in shreds and hands frozen.

We know that we creatures were made for praise and
thanksgiving. We recognize that gratitude is our natural
home.

But these are unnatural days. Instead of Heaven’s jubilation
at Creation’s unfolding, most of what we hear are the arias
of agony and the cornet’s sounding of retreat.

Sighs hover; cries haunt. And still your Face eludes.

Such is our distress: Our minds have forgotten the lyrics of
assurance; our hearts, the melody of steadfast ardor. From
all that we can see, joy has crashed against the shoals of
sorrow.

Having waivered in confidence—just short of throwing in
the towel, to be rid of all aspiration for your Beloved
Community—all we know to do is to prostrate ourselves, to
petition your longsuffering Gaze, for renewed vigor and
purpose and courage.

Remind us again, O Holy Spirit, of that design by whose
pattern we were made. Call back to memory, Sweet Jesus, at
whose table we eat and drink, of whose feet we are to wash.
Call us back to our right mind, for clarity over the source
and aim of our commission.

From the captivity of silence, give us speech; from our
waywardness, guide us back onto the Way. Grant the
needed armor to withstand the Deceiver’s assault. Restore
sight to fading eyes; strength to feeble knees. Lift our bodies
from the slough of failed dreams, broken vows, and sullied
virtue.

Let the morning sun again rejoice even when shrouded in
cloud. Let every evening’s dark descent be occasion for rest
rather than fright.

Adorn us again with the expectation of hope; of might’s
manifestation in mercy; of the crowning of peace by the
coronation of justice. Open again Heaven’s portal of
adoration echoed in Earth’s just flourishing.

Gracious One, grant us the wherewithal to journey from
Mary’s annunciation, to Epiphany’s acclamation, through
Lent’s interrogation, all the way to Easter’s exultation.

Now. Forever. World without end. Amen.

Ken Sehested, Circle of Mercy Wed prayers, 27 Jan 2021

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