The Psalter of Jesus: Abandoned to Death // Psalm 22

I’ll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about. I’m pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death. I’m not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I.
— David Foster Wallace in his novel Infinite Jest

Our God is a consuming fire. He is dangerous, fearless, fully alive. And he will stop at nothing to make persons of that same cloth. Look at the heroes of our faith: Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab. Who among them lived in quiet safety? None. They were murdered, displaced, mocked, threatened, and abandoned. They died in faith, having not yet laid hold of the promises they hoped for. Yet in death, they escaped exile in this world that they might enter the city God had prepared for them. This is the life of faith, experiencing the abandonment and alienation of this world in hope for a new world to come. We are consumed in fire here that we might live in fire there. Jesus cried from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." And this author and finisher of our faith now cries those same words through us. Our head has broken through. Surely, his body will follow.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Church, behold your God. He is great in might and authority belongs to him.
Let us be silent before him.

Church, look to your God. He abounds in love and cares for all people.
Let us draw near to him.

Church, anticipate your God. He is faithful in rescue and does not tire.
Let us trust him.

Church, marvel at your God. He is everlasting from generation to generation.
Let us praise him.

God made the world and everything in it. In Him it is sustained and retains its form.
He meets His people in kindness and grace. In Him there is comfort for the needy and hope for the lost. All nations and peoples belong to Him. His praise will be echoed throughout the ages.
This is our God, let us worship him.

 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

God, you are with us, but we accuse you of being far off.
You proclaim your presence, but we feel deserted and alone.
Lord, forgive us. Teach us to receive your Son.

You are powerful amid weakness, but we want to be strong.
You proclaim justice, but we seek our own vindication.
Lord, forgive us. Teach us to receive your Son.

You are gentle and kind, but we quietly question your intentions.
You proclaim peace, but we are prone to quarrels and self-deprecation.
Lord, forgive us. Teach us to receive your Son.

We confess that we imagine a god we'd rather have. Perhaps we would better feel that god's presence or better understand his involvement in our violent world. Amid this doubt, you are the God you have always been. You are the God of Israel's deliverance, the seer of barren mothers, the healer of the blind, and the Savior of the world.
We are forgetful and cynical people, but you are our faithful God.
Forgive our near-sightedness. Teach us to receive your Son.

Grant us songs of your deliverance to sing to future generations. In abandonment, may we look no further than to Christ, the one who subjected himself to it, even unto death.
Lord, have mercy on us. Teach us to abide in your Son.

- authored by Liann Jensen