Ash Wednesday: The Old Testament Passage – Light and Darkness


Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near—

a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains a great and powerful army comes; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them in ages to come.”
(Joel 2:1-2)

I am letting myself sit with these opening verses, imagining a dark shadow passing over a mountainside. I wish I had a picture, a visual to show you what I am seeing in my mind’s eye. But a picture would not show you the movement, the light of the mountain being covered with darkness. A picture might be like a thousands words; but let my words paint you this picture. Darkness, gloom; the light on leaves and trees going dim. From a distance it looks like black ink has been poured across the mountain side, and the sun itself hides from the coming wave. The sun uses the clouds to hide its face, and the clouds themselves lose their color and brightness in the face of this coming threat.

Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing.” (Verses 12 to 13a)

In these dark shadows will you, can you beloved reader hold on to hope that the Lord will deliver you? Can you sustain a spot of light in the darkness that has over come your heart and your dwelling?

But of course, I am being melodramatic. There is no unnatural darkness; the sun rises and sets, and the clouds blow across the sky sometimes hiding the sun and other times framing it in the sky. When darkness does come – because of nature, time and the seasons – the light returns. Why should we fear?

Because beloved reader, the darkness is not covering the mountain side but covering our hearts and souls. It is obscuring the light of love, goodness, compassion and righteousness. There is a darkness blotting out our spirit and our soul. What will we do?

“Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.” (Verse 13b)

Do you believe, and believe in this beloved reader? Moreover, do want to have this darkness taken away? Do you think you deserve this darkness? Or are you worthy of being in the light of God?

Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people.
Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep.
Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations.
Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Verses 14-17)

We are at Ash Wednesday. If Transfiguration Sunday was the day we celebrated the light that is Jesus Christ, today we acknowledge the darkness that is in us. How can we hold these two things together – Christ’s light and our darkness? How can we enter into Christ’s light when our soul is dark. These are the questions that I set before us today. These are questions that I hope and pray we find answers to during the season of Lent. Selah!

First Sunday Lent 2016: The Gospel Passage – Temptations all around

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”(Luke 4:1-4)

Not your usual temptations – at least not presented in this way. But think of it this way, beloved reader? What have YOU been tempted to do in order to get food and drink, shelter and clothing, the daily necessities of life? Have you cut corners? Glossed over details and expectations that you should have paid attention to? Turned a blind idea to what you know was wrong in order to get something you wanted? If so, you have been presented with temptation as Jesus had. How did you do in resisting?

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” (Verses 5 – 8)

What have you seen in this life that you wish was yours? What wealth and possession have you seen others have, and think to yourself “I would do anything to make that mine.” This is a common temptation, I am guessing, in our current society. There are the “haves” and the “have nots”, and the divide between them is getting bigger and bigger. Is there a limit to one might do in order to be one of the “haves”? If have been tempted to cross that limit, you have been presented with temptation as Jesus had. How did you do in resisting?

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Verses 8 – 12)

We all know daredevils, those people who risk safety for a thrill. Or those who watch scary movies. Or watch very questionable entertainment. Or in some other way jeopardize their health and/or safety. Is that you, beloved reader? Do you make such choices in your life? Not silly or foolish ones, or fun ones, or anything goofy. But truly dangerous choices to own self – your body, spirit or soul? If this is a temptation for you, you have been presented with temptation as Jesus had. How did you do in resisting?

I have read this passage multiple times, but this is the first time I thought about in this way. I had always thought the temptations that the devil presented to Jesus were unique only to Jesus. But I see now that in our world there are parallel temptations to what temptations were presented to Jesus. This passage ends by saying . . .

When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.” (Verse 13)

But I am pretty sure there was no other “opportune time.” However, the advantage of writing at least a week ahead has given me the chance to think more about this. The devil may not have come back to tempt Jesus directly, but to arrange situations where Jesus was tested in other ways through the people around him. We read about incidents and situations that Jesus was forced to proof himself or take a stand on something. This too can be temptation and testing.

I also think, beloved reader, the devil comes to us “opportune time” after time. That evil one keeps trying to tempt us, at times beyond our ability to resist. Jesus resisted, said no with such authority that the devil never returned to him. I am not sure we always have such authority, in and of ourselves. We can though, use the strength of Jesus Christ.

So if our strength fails, as invariably it will, we can come to God and Jesus Christ – confess our sins, do penance for the temptation we have given into, and receive forgiveness. This cycle of confession, penance, and forgiveness – it permeates our lives, whether or not it is a focus of our thinking.

Now, this year we are looking at it closely. And during the season of Lent it is appropriate for these meditations and ponderings. But temptation does not confine itself to one year or one season. Neither does God and Jesus Christ’s forgiveness of us. Selah!

Presentation of the Lord & Transfiguration Sunday: The Psalms Passages – A Celebration of the “then” and a promise of a time to come

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” (Psalm 84:1)

Today I am looking for a refuge from all the things that are causing me turmoil. That it is not an actual physical place is alright. My trust in the Lord is secure enough that I believe their will an end to this “tunnel” and there will be light there – the light of the Lord. So I am content and secure in the spiritual dwelling place that the Lord of hosts has prepared for me, and for you beloved reader.

“My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise. Selah

Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.” (Verses 2 – 6)

Not every one has a dwelling place; neither a physical one nor a spiritual one. Some have one but not the other. And it is not for me to say which is more necessary for the human spirit. Of course, it is best to have both. And it is a sign of a righteous nation that each person is assured both, and that each person can feel safe in both dwelling places. And if that is not that is not the case, beloved reader, that nation should not claim to be fully and completely righteous.

“They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.” (Verse 7)

There is in the human spirit a strength and resiliency that sustains us when safe and welcoming dwelling places of both types are not available. If that is not the case, beloved reader, then we have failed in our relationships to humanity.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!Selah
Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed. For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.” (Verses 8-12)

This psalm is cited for the celebration of the Presentation of the Lord. It celebrates not the infant Jesus held in his mother’s arms and protected by his earthly father. It looks forward to the day when Jesus has come into his ministry and wields the power that the Lord of Hosts has given him. Just as that day was not culmination of what Jesus would become, our day is not the culmination of what the Lord of Hosts has prepared for us.

The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. Let them praise your great and awesome name. Holy is he! Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity; you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Extol the Lord our God; worship at his footstool. Holy is he!

Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the Lord, and he answered them. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his decrees, and the statutes that he gave them.
O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Extol the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy. (Psalm 99)

This psalm has the flavor and earmarking of a celebration of the Transfiguration. We have Moses mentioned, and a foreshadowing of Elijah. And a call to worship God on the Lord’s holy mountain. It is all there beloved reader. But as I said above, it is there – but not necessarily here with us. Where is the geographical location of God’s holy mountain today? In the time of the psalmist it could be pointed to. Who is there now that stands out as God’s priest, one who is accepted by all people as a priest of God? Our faith is so divided that different people could be named.

We do not live in the same world as the psalmist. But we can look to the psalms as a memory and history of how faith once was. And a promise of a time to come when all people and all faiths will be brought together. Until we must deal gently and lovingly with one another, confessing our sins and making amends for where we have gone wrong. Let us now enter a time of Lent, and look towards remembering again of where our forgiveness and salvation comes from. Selah!

Presentation of the Lord & Transfiguration Sunday: The Epistles Passages – From flesh and blood to something Divine

Let me first, beloved reader, insert a little bit of clarification. The writer of Hebrews is placing together Jesus and the children under the Lordship of God even though Jesus was the one who the writer of Hebrews identifies as completing the act of salvation. Verses 10 to 13 establish this fact, if you want to look it up. The RCL picks up then at verse 14.

Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.”(Hebrews 2:14-18)

These verses and theology stand at interesting opposition to the presentation of the Lord and Transfiguration Sunday. As flesh and blood, Jesus was presented at the Temple but as a baby and certainly not in that moment able to oppose the power of death. But clearly sharing a flesh and blood existence with other babies presented at the Temple. And his transfiguration on the mountain top speaks to a nature that could and would destroy the power of death and be a high priest in the service of God, but not to a nature confined to flesh and blood.

But do not, beloved reader, set this paradox at the feet of the writer of Hebrews. It is the Revised Common Lectionary that has matched the Hebrews passage to the Presentation of the Lord; and my own planning that further matches it to Transfiguration Sunday. This does, however, encapsulate the seemingly contrary nature of Jesus being both human and Divine. I think that is all that needs to be said. Let us move onto the second passage for today.

Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” (II Corinthians 3:12-16)

This is an interesting portion; not because of what it says about theology and Christology; but because of what if reveals about the writer of II Corinthians. It is the writer of II Corinthians who is the “we” who has such hope and is bold, unlike Moses who hid his face. And the write is one who accepts Christ as Divine, and not like “the people of Israel” who the truth with a veil. He goes on to say . . .

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. (Verses 17 to 18 and chapter 4 verses 1 & 2)

The writer of II Corinthians would not have been surprised by Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain top; in fact, the writer of II Corinthians would have fully expected Jesus to be transfigured in some way from flesh and blood to Divine.

And what of us beloved reader? Do we keep Jesus as a flesh and blood brother? Or do we accept his Divinity and take it as sign that Jesus is Lord and the author of our salvation? Do allow, and in fact seek to be transformed by God and Jesus Christ?

We are on the cusp of Lent. Soon we will start an self examination and be called to confess our faults and do the penance that God requires of us. So for this brief shining time like us seek to be transformed by the power of Christ. Selah! Tomorrow we will look at the psalms passages and take up praise to our God and our Lord Christ.

Presentation of the Lord & Transfiguration Sunday: The Gospel Passages – Learning, Growing, and Being Transformed

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,

Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” (Luke 2:22- 40)

One of the pitfalls, if you want to call it that, of commenting on and writing about scripture is that you encounter the same verses over and over again; and you start to wonder, “What I say about this? When did I write about it?” It seems to me that I wrote on this passage from Luke not that long ago, and I am fearful that whatever I say now, I might repeat myself.

So I look back at what I wrote, and search for other times and places that I have said something about this passage. Surely I have thought before what I am thinking now about this passage. Surely I said previously what I am thinking about saying now. Should I say it/write it and risk repeating myself? Should I think of something different to say and miss the opportunity to say/write something I have never shared before? Befuddlement clouds my thinking. And yet, and yet we re-visit these times and incidents in the life of Jesus Christ; and even if we visit the same “spot” and see the same things, it adds something to our lives and our faith experience each time.

Jesus was young at one point in his life; just learning and experiencing faith as we might (well, not EXACTLY as we might, but you know what I mean). We learn and grow; our faith expands, until we become what we were destined to be. Jesus also learned and grew, until he became who he was destined to be.

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.” (Luke 9:28-36)

As I alluded to yesterday, sometimes the changes that come about in encountering the Divine are not outward changes but inward changes. And we often do not have the words to talk about or explain those changes. But we pay attention to them.

Do you find it hard to believe, beloved reader, that we might change after encountering God? Not just changing as a non-believer changes to a believer of God. But changes that seem to affect our very physical/human nature? Changes as Moses changed to having a glowing face. Changes as Elijah changed to be able to see angels. Changes such that we affect other people in deep and significant ways. The Catholic faith believes that some people, by encountering the Divine throughout their lives, become “saints” and impact the lives of others. I am not one to dispute those claims. We have the capability to be conduits for God, and who can say how we might channel the Divine, and what we might be capable of – “miracles” as Jesus performed?

On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child. Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. It convulses him until he foams at the mouth; it mauls him and will scarcely leave him. I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon dashed him to the ground in convulsions. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astounded at the greatness of God.” (Verses 37 – 43a)

“Faithless and perverse” – awfully strong language. The Message puts it a little differently; “Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring your son here.” (Verse 41) It almost seems like to be, beloved reader, that Jesus expects us to change and be able to truly help people and not just give words and teachings. How are we to respond to this implied challenge? Are we to go from being presented in our church to being transformed/transfigured by God? Mighty questions and pondering to take with us into the season of Lent.

May you, beloved reader, be nurtured by our God and be open to what God leads you to. Selah!

Presentation of the Lord & Transfiguration Sunday: The Old Testament Passages – Being presented and transformed

The Revised Common Lectionary outdoes it self, in my opinion, this week. Because Easter comes so early this year, we are already at Transfiguration Sunday this coming weekend. Transfiguration Sunday marks the beginning of our journey through the season of Lent. But we are also at the Presentation of the Lord celebration when Jesus, as an infant, was brought to the Temple to be blessed and when Mary completed her purification rites. It is a wonderful theme of Jesus, as infant, being dedicated to God and Jesus showing his Divine nature to Peter, John and James. I am using all both sets of scripture passage this week, matching scripture type to scripture type. I am looking forward to what we may discover as we hold these two sets of four-fold scripture passages together.

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.” (Malachi 3:1-4)

The theme of a refiner, one who will purify God’s people, is an established one. And it has been applied not only to the Divine but to those who have been and are prophets of God. This passage is used for the Old Testament Passage for the Presentation of the Lord. The Christ first comes to the Temple as an infant, powerless, but grows to the man Jesus Christ who is transformed on the mountain top before the eyes of Peter, John and James. Jesus refines his disciples, preparing them for their ministry as Jesus was prepared as an infant. Encounters with the Divine change us in ways that are both seen and unseen.

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.” (Exodus 34:29-35)

As I am sure you well know, beloved reader, Moses appeared with Jesus on the mountain top where Jesus was transfigured, that is, where Jesus took on the sheen and glow of the Divine that he was. Elijah was there also, shining also. They had been changed, not just because they passed through this world to the next, but because they had been touched by and had seen God all through their lives. And while it took some time Peter, James and John were also touched and transformed by touching and seeing Christ. It is a “natural” outcome of walking with God.

We, beloved readers, may not “shine” as Moses did, or be lifted up to heaven as Elijah was; but we are touched and transformed. It may not be a obvious external change, but there is a definite internal change – if we can sustain that connection to God. That is the task, beloved reader, to stay connected to God. I do not know about you, beloved reader, but that is something I want to think about for a little bit.

The story for many of us is that when we were young, we were taken to church, and presented and dedicated to God. For others, they came to God when they were older, perhaps through/because of the efforts of another or that they found their own way. Nevertheless, all of us who believe were presented to God in our spiritual infancy. We grew in faith and understanding, and were touched and transformed. But being human and fallible, that transformation did not and does not always hold true and remain. That is why we need to confess and do penance, and then we are transformed again.

The penance that we do is God’s way of refining us and purifying us. And from literal sense, that which is refined and purified will glow and shine. Think about that beloved reader – our souls glow and shine! That most certainly is worth doing penance for!

May you, beloved reader, think deeply in your own mind, heart, and soul about these passages. Tomorrow we will look at the next set. Shalom!

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany: The Psalm Passage – A Prayer for God’s Preeminence

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.” (Psalm 71:1)

What does that mean to you, beloved reader, never being put to shame? If it wasn’t the fact that it is the Divine being I asked, I would say it is an impossible idea. Either the one asking would have to be made so perfect, or the Divine would be consistently hiding or “magically” correcting everything.

But in reading the biblical commentaries I see that they take a different meaning from this verse. The writer wishes never to be put to shame by believing and relying on God; that the onus in on God to come through and be all that the believer hopes. This to me seems be just as big a request. It depends so much, beloved reader, on the attitude and actions of the believer and demands that God be whatever it is the the believer wants and needs our Lord to be.

“In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.”

(Verses 2 – 3)

I guess what I feel is missing from this petition is the desire to be so changed and formed by God that we are aligned to God instead of God aligning to us. But it could well be the feeling and attitude that I, myself, am bringing to these verses. So maybe it is my attitude and perspective that needs to be realigned.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth; it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.” (Verses 4-6)

Lord God,
I come with all my faults and failings; and with my attitude and will that battles against your judgment, guidance, and precepts. I pray Lord that yours might win, and that mine would fade away so that it seems like they never existed. May your guidance for my life be what I follow, and your wisdom what I guide my life by. Rescue me from all those who come against me; but more importantly Lord, rescue me from myself! Selah!