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Lent Readings

Readings Begin February 18

Daily Lent Readings

"He is risen, indeed!" Lent has passed but that doesn't mean the daily readings have to go away. Some of you might be discovering this page for the first time. Others who participated during Lent might find it helpful to revisit a particular reading. For these reasons, we will leave this page up for a while.
We pray that you experience the wonder of interacting with our Savior in a personal, transformative way!
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"A New Light Shining" painting by Youngsung Kim from Havenlight
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Day 30

Mourning into Dancing
Imagine standing with Jesus, right next to him, in prayer to his Father. Read this passage of praise aloud. As you do so, consider that you are praying along with Jesus, your two voices becoming one as you bless God.  
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and all that is within me,
   bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity
   who heals all your diseases, 
who redeems your life from the pit,
   who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
Psalm 30
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
   and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
   and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
   you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
   and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
   and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
   but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
   “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD,
   you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
   I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I cry,
   and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
   if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
   Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me!
   O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
   you have loosed my sackcloth
   and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
   O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
What Is This Psalm About?   
Several times in his life, David nearly died at the hands of enemies, and Psalm 30 is a joyful psalm of his personal deliverance. However, this psalm also came to hold collective significance especially as it relates to the temple. Through the centuries, God’s people knew the joys of the temple, and since about 165 BC this psalm had become a communal praise at Hanukkah (“dedication”). They also experienced sorrow at the temple’s desecration or destruction as when in 175 BC a Syrian ruler profaned it with idolatrous statues in a decade of oppression. However, when Judas Maccabaeus led the Jewish revolt, he cleansed the temple and re-dedicated it to the LORD I AM. Thus, Psalm 30 reflects the national joy that God has “not let my foes rejoice over me.” Early on, then, the church sang it in celebration that the new, true Temple, Jesus, had passed through desecration and death into resurrection. 
What Might This Psalm Have Meant to Jesus?
Songs allow us to exaggerate, to colorfully say more in order not to say less of what an experience means. The psalmist’s situation was so dire, so deathly, that he praised God in terms of being lifted out of Sheol, the dark realm of the dead. However, what was evocative hyperbole for David becomes literal experience for Jesus. These poetically overstated words give accurate lyrics for the unique journey of Jesus. So Psalm 30 serves Jesus perhaps in preparation for his passion, giving him hope that joy will follow the shame. Certainly Psalm 30 is a magnificent song to raise as Jesus gets up in resurrection transformation. Let’s walk through it.
Remembering the taunts that reached his ears through pain, Jesus now sings about how his Father has “not let my foes rejoice over me.” He recalls the wrenching cry of dereliction, even his last inarticulate shout (Mark 15:37), and now, with life once again flowing through him, perhaps shaking his head because it seems almost too good to be true, he says, “I cried to you for help . . . and you brought up my soul from Sheol!”
Jesus accepted the wrath of his Father against our sin. It crushed him in disgrace and shame knowing, just two days earlier, “You hid your face; I was dismayed.” But on the other side, on Easter Sunday, he laughs with relief: “Weeping may tarry for a night [even the darkest night confined in Sheol] but joy comes with the morning.”
Let’s imagine how Jesus might have prayed:
O Father, I knew what was coming. But I had never experienced a disconnection from you. Every moment of my life had been in the prosperity of your presence. I could not know what hell would be until I entered it. Although I was a son, I could only learn the depth of obedience through what I suffered (Hebrews 5:8). 
Father, it got so hard. I asked you out of my agony, “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit?” Indeed, the devil tempted me to despair that the last three years now meant nothing. To fear that these disciples could not get along without me. That your worship on earth would cease if my voice went silent. Ha! What profit in my death? Ho! Only this, that by this single offering of myself, salvation has been accomplished! All our loved ones will be forgiven and made new, offered to you in me!
Blessed Spirit, you are my helper, called alongside me in my flesh to enable me to make that offering when all hope was gone. Blessed Father, you are my helper, the one by whose command sin was placed on me, and I became the guilty one. And you are my helper, the only one whose voice could overturn my death sentence. You cleared my name forever. You sent the Spirit to raise me. As we planned, so it has been done!
My God, my God, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing.” You have stripped off the sackcloth of tattered flesh and clothed me in the gladness of a resurrection body.
You have given me glory. And my glory will resound in your praise throughout heaven and earth. And these beloved whom you have given me will be with us always. And I will always be one of them, joined to this humanity we love. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Praying with Jesus
Jesus, did you dance in that cave,
When all the pain was gone,
And health like you had never felt
In a body coursed through you?
Did it feel like waking from a bad dream?
Was it like what our writers have told?
Did you dance like Scrooge on Christmas morning, 
When he found he wasn’t cursed and dead,
But alive and free to love,
To give and rejoice and bless?
Were you like Sam when he woke,
Rescued from Mount Doom, to ask,
After the Ring had been destroyed
‘Is this when everything sad comes untrue?’
Was it like Aslan the great lion,
After he gave himself to save Edmund,
Shorn, bound and slain on the stone table,
Then suddenly, by the deeper magic
From before the dawn of time,
Made alive again?
‘Oh children, I think I need to roar!’
Is this the same joy I tasted
On the day you helped me die to self,
The moment you remade me,
Birthed me anew,
Gave me a presence that never leaves,
A forgiveness that ever cleanses,
A love that endures sorrow,
A hope for life that never ends?
With you I sing, I skip, I dance,
Weeping may tarry for the night
But joy comes with the morning.


Posted in: Lent