The Psalter of Jesus: This Lonely Place // Psalm 102

You don’t have to think very hard to realize that our dread of both relationships and loneliness has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.
— David Foster Wallace

Our world teems with beauty and opportunity. There is much good here. But it is not our home. We are exiles in this place, sojourners passing through on our way to a new and better world. Lest we forget this reality and seek more from our natural life than it can ever give, we are haunted by loneliness. Every person has experienced loneliness, and it is an ever present ghost within us. There are times when we cannot deny its presence. Times when the noise of life quiets and we are alone with our thoughts and our fears and our longings. Many of us spend much effort avoiding such times. Yet it is precisely those moments when we receive the clearest sign from the heavens. God is speaking in our loneliness. And he is telling us that all the love and care of our families and dearest friends cannot rescue us from this exile. He is telling us that we were made for much closer contact than even these relationships can provide. He is calling us into his very being. He is calling us home. Loneliness is holy, indeed.


CALL TO WORSHIP

We are gathered here together from many separate homes, jobs, families, and circumstances. The week leading up to now was a different reality for each of us.
Yet in Christ, we are called together as one body.
In Christ, we are no longer obsessed with and consumed by our independent lives, for we gather together in Jesus’ name and as his people.

 

We have looked around and determined that the world is set against us, but hear now: God is for us.
Let us bring our hopes, sorrows, discouragement, and despair before him, for he hears our cries and does not abandon us.

 

The Lord Jesus has proved himself a faithful friend to us. He will never leave us, forget us, or reject us.
In one Spirit, we draw near to God, knowing that God has already drawn near to us, and is present with us even now.
 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Lord God, our friends, family members, coworkers, and those in authority over us have failed to love and care for us, and we feel isolated. We imagine ourselves alone in a world where we must fight for our jobs, our security, our happiness, our very identity.
Yet we are not alone, Lord, for you are with us and for us. You have not left us to fight our way through life.

In our angst trying to find romance, secure friends, and impress people, we have forgotten your friendship, Lord Jesus. You, who left heaven and made your dwelling with us. You, who suffered and died for us.
Forgive us for despising your companionship as though it were secondary to all our other needs.

Jesus, you are a true friend to us, through costly sacrifice even bringing us into your own family.
Lord, forgive us. We have often despised the family you bled and died to establish.

Father, may we be rooted in your church, and join this community of worshipers that spans the ages. Lead us out of our independence and into you.
We ask you, Father:
"Send me your light and your faithful care,
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell."

- authored by Erin Bourne