URC Daily Devotion 31st July 2022

Psalm 102

LORD, hear my prayer,
 and let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
 in the day of my distress.

Turn your ear toward me;
 on the day when I call,
 speedily answer me.
For my days are vanishing like smoke;
 my bones burn away like a furnace.

My heart is withered and dried up like the grass.
 I forget to eat my bread.
 Because of the sound of my groaning,
 my skin clings to my bones.

I have become like a vulture in the desert,
 like an owl among the ruins.
 I lie awake and I moan,
 like a bird alone on a roof.

All day long my foes revile me;
 those who deride me use my name as a curse.
I have eaten ashes like bread,
 and mingled tears with my drink.

Because of your anger and fury,
you have lifted me up and thrown me down.
My days are like a fading shadow,
and I wither away like the grass.

But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever,
 and your renown is from age to age.
You will arise and take pity on Sion,
 for this is the time to have mercy;
 yes, the time appointed has come.

Behold, your servants love her very stones,
 are moved to pity for her dust.
The nations shall fear the name of the LORD,
 and all the earth’s kings your glory.

When the LORD shall build up Sion,
 he will appear in all his glory.
Then he will turn to the prayers of the helpless;
 he will not despise their prayers.

Let this be written for ages to come,
 that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD;
The LORD looked down from his holy place on high,
 looked down from heaven to the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
 and free those condemned to die.

May the name of the LORD be proclaimed in Sion,
 and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples and kingdoms are gathered as one
 to offer their worship to the LORD.
He has broken my strength in midcourse;
 he has shortened my days.

I say: “My God, do not take me away
 before half of my days are complete,
 you, whose days last from age to age.
Long ago you founded the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish but you will remain.
They will all wear out like a garment.
 You will change them like clothes, and they change.
But you are the same, and your years do not end.”

The children of your servants shall dwell untroubled,
 and their descendants established before you.

The Revised Grail Psalms Copyright © 2010, 
Conception Abbey/The Grail, admin. by GIA Publications, Inc., 
www.giamusic.com All rights reserved.


Psalm 102 is in three parts. The opening of the Psalm is like an individual lament. The plea is that the Lord will hear the prayer and be present at this time of suffering. Human life is transitory, days are vanishing like smoke, bones burn like a furnace. The Psalm goes on to present powerful images. The heart is withered and dried like the grass, the petitioner forgets to eat bread, because of the groaning. The petitioner moans like a bird on the roof. Things are made worse by foes who revile and deride. Days are like a fading shadow, and the petitioner withers away like grass.
This is a prayer of an individual in crisis, perhaps they are the words of someone who is terminally ill, but they can also be adapted to all sorts of situations, trouble and distress.
I write this reflection about a month into the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We have seen pictures of and heard words from many who are in distress. Those who are forced to flee as refugees, those who have been the victims of violence and those who have seen members of their family killed. May God hear the prayers and may God’s face not be hidden from such people in need.
The second part of the Psalm begins with a sudden change ‘’But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever’ (vs.12). The individual lament becomes a community lament. It has been suggested that the setting is the destruction of Jerusalem in sixth century BCE. It looks forward to the coming restoration of Zion.
The final part of the Psalm begins with the individual petitioner praying ‘My God, do not take me away before half of my days are complete’ (vs. 23). The Psalm concludes with words of hope.in God who is the creator of all things.
O God,
Hear our prayer,
And may our voices come to you.
We come to you in times of distress,
And times of crisis.
We come as individuals,
And we come as a community,
Bringing our petitions,
And our complaints.
May we trust in you,
And may we find our hope in you
Our creator and redeemer.

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