Friday, April 8, 2011

Lenten Implications

The Psalm in today's Office of Readings has this verse which caught my attention:

In their heart they put God to the test
by demanding the food they craved. (Psa 78)

In these days I find myself craving food more than usual because I take fasting more seriously during Lent. The world I live in invites indulgence and physical appetites are easily stirred. I try to turn that into a prayer: "Lord, let my soul hunger for you the way my body begs to be fed."

Do we take seriously the warning from the Psalmist? We can live in ways that put our own desires ahead of what God wants (which is idolatry). Again, our world restricts "sin" – to the extent it recognizes sin at all – to the "big, bad things": rape and child abuse, and some of the PC "isms." Hardly, even in the church, do we hear warnings against living self-indulgently. As long as we're "basically good people" it's supposedly normal always to do the things that make us "happy." Yet, it is a reality that what makes me happy can grieve God.

The Psalm continues:

he gave them all they craved.
But before they had sated their cravings,
while the food was still in their mouths,
God's anger rose against them....

Lent is a good time to check our cravings and to pray that we are described by another Psalm:

Like the deer that yearns for running streams,
so my soul is yearning for you, my God. (Psa 42)

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