Tuesday, February 09, 2010

It looks like I won't be getting any more Psalm recordings, so I badgered someone to read to me last night over the phone since it has been too long since I had the Living Word fill my ears.

I asked for two, which he found excessive given that he didn't understand why I wanted to be read to in the first place.  I told him that he should be thankful for the opportunity to have the Living Word rest on his tongue, fall from his lips.  He countered that no one should be asked to get out of a warm bed, schlep downstairs in the frigid cold, and gather his wits enough to read.  I retorted that 10:11 PM was VERY early in the evening and reading would be as good for him as it would be for me.  I persisted.  He capitulated.

I got my Psalter reading.  But not two.  He read me 18a and 18b, pausing after verse 25 as if he were starting a new psalm.  Still, when he was done, he admitted that he would sleep better having spent time hearing God's Word.  He also recommended I immediately change careers...a negotiator or lawyer or something like that!

As for me, I got to hear once more how God rescues me because He delights in me, causes His light to shine in me, sees me as clean, and is my refuge, rock, shield, stronghold, and salvation.

Were my Godmother here with me right now, she would be lecturing me that faith is not what I want.  That all I think about is the I of my faith.  I fear she is right.  I feel she is wrong.

Someone sent me a prayer to start praying for my enemies and I cannot speak the words.  They would be a lie.

Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst command us to love our enemies, and those who defame and injure us, and to pray for them and forgive them; Who Thyself didst pray for Thine enemies, who crucified thee: grant us, we pray, the spirit of Christian reconciliation and meekness, that we may heartily forgive every injury and be reconciled with our enemies. Grant us to overcome the malevolence and offenses of people with Christian meekness and true love of our neighbor. We further beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant to N. and all our enemies true peace and forgiveness of sins; and do not allow them to leave this life without true faith and sincere conversion. And help us repay evil with goodness, and to remain safe from the temptations of the devil and from all the perils which threaten us, in the form of visible and invisible enemies. Amen.

It is an old prayer, one handed down from Christian to Christian, spoken throughout the Church I suppose.  But is it not a prayer I could speak.

I do not want reconciliation with my enemies.  I see no point, no good, in doing so.  To stand before someone who has harmed you, someone you know would harm you again if given the opportunity.  That makes no sense to me.  It is not something I want.

I have spent much of my snowbound time thinking on Pastor W's words, the message he shared about Luther's teaching.  I have read aloud the whole of the Large Catechism Part III several times and then also just 93-98, all the while dwelling upon the 5th petition.  The teaching of the first four petitions enlarged the Lord's Prayer ever so much, truly a marvel for me...and a blessing.  The teaching on the 5th petition troubles me so...and discourages me.

Why is it not okay to say I wish you no harm, may God bring you to His fold, but I do not want anything to do with you?  Why must forgiveness be tied with reconciliation?  Why could not the joining of the body of Christ, should that happen with my enemies, wait until heaven?  I get that through forgiveness we are reconciled to God and for that I am eternally thankful (pardon the pun).  But it makes no sense to pursue reconciliation with those who will most likely just harm you again...or with those who have already caused a lifetime of hurt.

I read that prayer and weep.  My faith is so small, so weak.  So miserable a sinner am I....


No matter how much snow I have to shovel tomorrow, I am finishing Walther's Tenth Evening Lecture!  For there, in those pages, I have found joy and peace and freedom.  Nothing perplexing.  Nothing distressing.  Nothing crushing.

Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!

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