Today's three readings:
Ephesians 2: 1 - 10
Not exactly the most jolly selection of stuff to read. The Ephesians passage is the 'salvation by faith through grace' bit, so some nice straight forward soteriology stuff, and a bit more upbeat than the two OT readings.
The beginning of Psalm 77 is what I found spoke to me today:
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God, and I moan; I meditate, and my spirit faints.
You keep my eyelids from closing; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
Psalm 77:1 - 4 NRSV
I think pretty much everyone has had nights when they cannot sleep, or times when they have lain awake all night trying to make sense of something or other but not able to find the way forward. Many have had a 'dark night of the soul' or the times of wondering why God is silent and seems, contrary to promise, to have abandoned them. The psalm is not all 'lament' it does move on to recall past experiences of God, but I think it also gives permission for people to feel the way they feel.
This morning someone pointed me at a You Tube video expressing the experiences of a woman who had been treated for breast cancer. I appreciate you are probably all sick and tired of this stuff, but it is still part of my life (and always will be). The experiences in the video do not entirely match my own - I can honestly say I have never asked 'why me' - but it does have resonances along the way. Even if it does match your own story, or that of anyone you know/love the nightmare roller coaster is a metaphor worth considering... Feel free to skip past it to the rest of my scribbles if you prefer.
(If you do watch it, you may need a tissue or three)
God of the dark places
The endless night-time
The sleepless nights
And interminable days
The nightmare, waking and sleeping
Why do you allow us this travail?
To what end the nights we cannot sleep?
Yet even darkness is light to you
In Christ, You have have shared the endless hours
You know and understand our travail
You have had your own own sleepless nights
Whether we ride the roller coaster of our own nightmares
Unable to make the ride stop
Unable to get off...
Whether we live in the pause moment before the next plunge
Knowing what will come
Unable to stop the inevitable...
Whether we feel the perisitent tug of the cable
Drawing us steadily onwards
Unable to escape what lies ahead...
Whether we relax as the ride ends
Unable to be sure it has ended
Not knowing if we must ride again as some new nightmare overtakes us...
Whether we watch helplessly
Unable to free another from the nightmare ride
Unable to share the ride...
Whatever, wherever, whoever...
You are with us
Sharing every moment
God of the dark places
God of the sleepless nights
God of the nightmare
God of hope
God whose promsies are trustworthy
God in whom we find life
Hear our prayer.