Never underestimate the power of the past. In ways that we often are not even aware of, the past shapes our understanding of the present and our hopes and fears about the future. We connect the dots between the past and the present, telling stories that make sense of how our lives (or the world) hold together. But sometimes the stories don’t work out as we would expect. Sometimes the hopeful pursuits of our life are derailed; sometimes a life of promise is cut short.

Psalm 22 expresses the expectation that the God known in grace, care, and salvation is the God who will be present in the same way yet again. The God who brought us into this world, the God who saved us from the powers of sin and death in the life of Jesus, is the God to whom we now look for deliverance.

Lament involves more than complaints to God about life’s being off kilter. Lament is complaining to God that life is off kilter because God has not been as consistent in living up to the standards of loving care that God has set.

In lament we lay bare before our Great Caretaker the places where the people of the earth suffer and die—and therefore need divine intervention. In lament we call to God from the midst of the darkness. We bring God into the suffering and injustice, and we demand an answer.

The strange reality seeping its way through lament is this: We not only have a calling to proclaim God’s good news to the world; we also have a calling to proclaim the world’s bad news to God. These are perhaps the two greatest tools God has given us to participate in the great project to make all things new.

Father, you have shown us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that there is no length to which you will not go to save and deliver your people. Open your eyes to the pain of the dying, the abused, the trafficked, the lonely, the sick; show yourself to them and the world as the God of all comfort. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 10:17-31

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Lectionary Week
October 4–10, 2021
Scripture Overview

Faithful people still have questions for God. Job wishes he could sit down with God and plead his case because he wants God to justify what has happened to him. The psalmist also feels abandoned by God and wonders why God is not coming to his aid. God can handle our questions. Job wanted an advocate, and Hebrews says that Jesus now fills that role for us. He is our great high priest and understands our sufferings, so we may boldly approach him for help. In Mark, Jesus deals with the challenge of money. It is a powerful force and can come between us and God if we cling to our resources instead of holding them loosely with thanksgiving for God’s provision.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Job 23:1-9, 16-17. When have you, like Eliphaz, attributed your own suffering or that of others to wickedness on your part or on theirs? How often do you find yourself blaming others for the situations in which they find themselves?
Read Psalm 22:1-15. How could your prayer life be more honest and transparent? What feelings do you hold back?
Read Hebrews 4:12-16. When God shines the spotlight on your soul, what does God see?
Read Mark 10:17-31. How do you square your “wealthy” life with Jesus’ call to discipleship?

Respond by posting a prayer.