High River United Church of High River, Alberta

Connecting with You - May 21
Grace & Peace to You!

David’s Reflections on Psalms 21-22

IMG 1333 2 Photo by David Robertson


Psalm 21 is a psalm addressed to the king, or perhaps written by King David and sung by him to God. The mood is upbeat and positive, so much so that the words of the next psalm offer one quite a jolt. The journey is from utmost optimism to utter despair.


The amazing thing about the psalms is that we can be pretty sure they will meet us where we are no matter how good or bad things are right now. That’s why I skipped ahead to Psalm 22. It is full of despair/lament on the one hand and then supported by words of comfort and assurance on the other hand. Even when we cannot feel the presence of God, Psalm 22 assures us that God is near—that God comes alongside our groaning and those moments when it feels like, I am poured out like water. (vs.14a)


I think it’s wise to simply be with those moments when we feel like a puddle, when we couldn’t quite keep it together, or hold our mix. We are emotional beings and sometimes life just serves up more than we can hold at the moment. We may just need to cry. Or, it may feel like our vulnerability is just too much to bear. There is room in the psalms for the emotions—the vulnerability, the alarm, the frustration, and/or whatever the emotion may be. When the emotions move through us, it’s really hard to feel anything else, let alone the presence of God. However, the wisdom of the Psalms is rooted in the awareness that God sustains us as the waves of emotion pass over us. We are not alone… God did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him (vs. 24b)


We can cry out to God when we feel tired, when we feel like it’s all too much, when we can’t see the path clearly, when the future is unknown, when we’re lonely, frustrated or suffering the end of patience with what is. And yet… and yet, in those moments God’s presence prevails. The conclusion of Psalm 22 is remarkable. God is within and all around those who are beneath the earth, those who are on the earth and those who have yet to be born upon the earth… Future generations will be told about the LORD, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn saying that he has done it. (vs.30-31)


As I sit with those last words of Psalm 22, I feel like I can breathe a little more spaciously, especially when I feel my own vulnerability or alarm pressing in on me. However we understand God, Psalm 22 opens up our lives to much a wider, higher, deeper and timeless Presence that has all the room we need to safely express our prayers whether they be ones for help in times of need or because we simply need to release our emotions of utmost optimism or of utter despair – and then rest in the one and the same Presence who holds past, present and future generations in unending comfort and compassion.


May God’s light and love encircle you, enfold you and embrace you over the coming days.


With love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David

High River United Church – a community of help, home & hope

“Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.” A. Heschel



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