• Dan

Lover's Lament (A paraphrase of Psalm 13. For Jolyn.)


I

How long, O Eternal One? How long will You make us wait for justice? Forever?  How long will You remain silent?  Are you speaking in a language I do not yet know?  Have I not ears to hear you, O Lord?  Have not any of us who seek Your will?

II

How long must I quarrel with my brothers and sisters, those whom I fear have lost their way, as they fear the same of me?  Love one another, You commanded us.  Right now, my heart is broken, my whole being is scared, my mind & my body are blurred with anger. Yet how do you I show Love to those whom I am convinced are in the snares of the evil one, but do not know?  How do Love and Truth share the same moment?  You loved those whom You confronted, but it must not have seemed so to them.  Brood of vipers, You said.  White-washed tombs, You called them.  Love can be tough, Truth can feel cruel.  It is easier to Love those who do not have the power to hurt others.  There is no place for self-righteous anger; but do I know the difference?  Forgive me, O Lord, for not perceiving where I end and You begin.

III

Turn back; respond to me, O Eternal One, my True God!  Do not let me run ahead of You.  Stay my lips from speaking words that are not Your own.  Put the spark of life in my eyes, or I am dead.  How do I protect my heart, remain open & still speak loudly?  Be the Alpha and Omega of my life, and do not allow me to take Your Name in vain.  For Your Name has been tossed to and fro between sides, both invoking Your cause, Your righteousness.  But do any of us truly know where You stand?  For it is us that must learn to stand with You.

IV

How do you combat willful ignorance with compassion? Those in power boast they have championed Your will; they celebrate and mock those who have stumbled.  They stomp on the oppressed; they put down all who dissent.  They confuse their power with Your glory.  They confuse self-preservation with risking their place so that others may rise.  They confuse national pride with Your heavenly kingdom.  They confuse trust in their own understanding with faith; schemes to hold their position with hope; complicity with love.  They confuse the walking the narrow path as needing to exclude others, rather than the self-excluding act of carrying the Cross, as You did.

V

But I trust in Your faithful love; my heart leaps at the thought of imminent deliverance by You.  I have seen You demonstrate Your will and Your ways through time.  I know You can, will and do act.  My Father is always at work, You said.  But I often do not see what our Father is up to.  Renew us, O Lord, renew our nation, renew our communities, renew Your church.  Let it begin with me.  Yet do I even realize what I am asking?  Am I truly willing to do what You command?  To Love, to persist in Love, even in the face of opposition, to the very end? May it be so.

VI

I will sing to the Eternal One, for You are always generous with me.  I remember Your great promise: I will always be with you.  I know You bear our pain and suffering more than any of us.  That it is in Your scars that we are healed.  It is in Your death that we die.  It is in Your rising that we shall rise again.  So I will continue to sing.

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