As we begin Lent 2015, Psalm 123.1-3a is a good psalm on which to meditate.
I lift my eyes to you,
O God, enthroned in heaven.
We keep looking to the Lord our God for his mercy,
just as servants keep their eyes on their master,
As a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy….
We all need mercy. Lord, have mercy.
But how eager are we to receive that mercy? How attentive are we to God as we wait for what we ask for, what we need?
I don’t know about servants or slave girls (not being an inhabitant of Downton Abbey or, thankfully, in a country where slavery is legal!) but I do know about eager expectation, about watchful anticipation.
I learned everything I know about hope and expectation from watching my dog, Sydney.
You would think from the way Sydney keeps her eyes on us in the kitchen, that she is starving. She is constantly at our heels, if not underfoot, eyes darting to and fro as we cook. When I am getting into the “snack drawer,” she sits right next to the drawer with her eyes GLUED on the floor. A dog never knows when a stray crumb or even broken cracker might fall right her way. If it does, she’ll be ready!
Jesus reminds us how eager our Heavenly Father is to give us good gifts: “You parents –if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?….Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will our Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7.8-11)
What good gifts do you need this Lenten season? Mercy? Forgiveness? Hope? Joy? Ask your Heavenly Father for what you need. And then eagerly await, expectantly watch for the good gifts that God wants to give you!
Judie Ritchie, Associate Pastor of Congregation Care and Inviting and Connecting Ministries