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Friday, October 25, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 20

The Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
The name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary,
     and give you support from Zion.
May he remember all your offerings,
     and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices .{Selah}

May he grant you your heart’s desire,
and fulfill all your plans.
May we shout for joy over your victory,
and in the name of our God set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord will help his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories
by his right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright.

Give victory to the king, O Lord;
answer us when we call. (NRSV)


If you’re anything like me, you find the psalms sometimes majestically beautiful, full of moving words and imagery. Other times, they seem written by a broken person, asking for God to bring down violence on others. Context is important, but it can still make our reading very uncomfortable. But what if the psalms offer us not a definitive theology about who God is, but a practical theology of how we can address God about the struggles and joys of our lives?

This is the power of spiritual journaling, whether you do it through the visual arts, sound recorder, or written and typed. Read as a spiritual journal entry, Psalm 20 is a poem as prayer. “May God,” prays the author, who must have been struggling with fear, perhaps feeling overwhelmed by pain, looming threats, burdened by feelings of inadequacy. And this practice does end up telling us about God—the one who grants us permission to grieve, to lament, to plead, to pen our pain, to shout our frustration, to whisper our fears.

Today I invite you to journal. Do it for thirty seconds or five minutes, for as long as you need. Already do it? Then journal with others, share your journaled thoughts with others. In moments of need, return to it and remember God is with you. In moments of joy, return to it and find there your humanity and the indisputable reality of God’s love for you, just as you are.


May God help you find your strength for the road ahead; may God help you open your ears to hear God in new ways, your eyes to see God in new places and in people’s faces, your mouth so that you can thank God and encourage others, and your hands, that you might be open to the gifts of the Spirit and to the love of God. Amen.

Written by Edwin Estevez, Pastoral Resident

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