How the Grande 5 Pump No-Water Chai Latte with a shot of Espresso works. . . .

ASH WEDNESDAY.  March 5, 2014

Psalm 6

I will be offering short comments on the Psalms here every day through the season of Lent.* I will be taking the texts from the Seedbed  Psalter, which is an arrangement of the Psalms into a metrical, poetical format designed especially to be sung. That’s what the Psalms are, you know, songs. The Psalms are not the ethereal writings of a heavenly poet. Rather, the Psalms are the Holy Spirit inspired, gut level God-cries of the human race in every state of its varied existence. It has been said of the sixty six books of the bible that sixty five of them speak to us while one, the Psalms, speaks for us. For Ash Wednesday, let’s consider Psalm 6.

O Lord, in anger don’t rebuke,
In wrath, don’t chide or turn from me.
Have mercy, Lord, for I am faint,
My very bones in agony.

Come heal me, Lord, my anguished soul
cries out, “How long, O Lord, how long?”
Deliver me, and save me, Lord –
Your steadfast love remains my song.

No one can praise You from the grave,
Nor mention You when they are dead.
I groan all day, all night I weep;
My tears now drench and flood my bed.

My eyes grow weak with sorrow, Lord –
They fail because of all my foes.
Depart from me, you evil ones!
For God has heard my cries and woes.

The Lord in mercy heard my cry;
Receives my prayer before His face.
My enemies will be dismayed,
And turn back, shamed and in disgrace.


Here the Psalmist teaches us a song of deliverance. Notice how the singer holds together two divergent realities throughout the song. While struggle and agony will not release the singer, the singer will not let go of the love of God. Were we to map the the genome of the Psalms, one of the primary strands of DNA would be this inseparable discordant bond between the deep inner pain of a thousand circumstances of people and the deeper, softer yet stronger melody of the Deliverer. See it at work in the verse below.

Come heal me, Lord, my anguished soul
cries out, “How long, O Lord, how long?”
Deliver me, and save me, Lord –
Your steadfast love remains my song.

Though I can’t prove it, my strong hunch is that Jesus sang through the 150 Psalms throughout his forty days in the wilderness. He sang them throughout his life, right up to song #22 from the cross. These songs simultaneously acclimate us to the realities of being human and the Reality of the love of God. And the truth? I can’t know one without the other.

The songs and stories of every age aspire to transport us to some illusory place of pain-free life where I write my own prescriptions; where I call the shots and control the outcomes.  (And isn’t that what the Tempter was up to both in Eden and with Jesus in the wilderness and later at Gethsemane?) This is the battle. Over and over and over the Psalmist takes us straight to the front lines. It’s a hard fight, but it’s the good fight, and it’s the way of Jesus, and because he won, we will win.

If I’m honest, I don’t really want to go there. Something about that grande 5-pump no-water chai latte with a shot of espresso can keep reality at bay for a little while. But I wasn’t supposed to talk about that was I?!

So how about giving this Psalm a sing? Something about reading song lyrics just doesn’t do it.  CLICK HERE. We are even providing the tune. 

*I want to credit Julie and Tim  Tennent for their creativity in shaping the Psalms into this particular Psalter format. Seedbed has built a one-of-its-kind interactive multi-faceted site around this work that I would encourage you to thoroughly engage.

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