nightshade flowers, photo by Len Harris lenharris.blogspot.com
(July 20, 2014) Just like the nightshade vine and the black raspberry that both grow in my back yard, sometimes the beauty and the pain of life are woven inextricably together. Where do you try to pull out that which is not life-giving? Where do you let the parts of life grow together and see what fruit they bear? (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 and Psalms 22 and 23- below)
a reader and I alternated lines from Psalms 22 and 23.
Psalm 22:1-21 & Psalm 23
Reader 1: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the sounds of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and I can never rest.
Reader 2: The God of Love is my shepherd. There is nothing that I want.
Reader 1: Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you delivered them, cried out to you, and they were saved.
Reader 2: God lets me rest in green pastures;
Reader 1: But I am a worm, less than human, scorned and despised by others. All who see me mock at me; they shake their heads and say, ‘Trust in God if you are God’s favorite! Let God protect you!’
Reader 2: God leads me to streams of peaceful waters, and restores my soul.
Reader 1: You are the one who carried me through birth, kept me safe at my mother’s breast. Since the moment I was born, I have been in your care; you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
Reader 2: God leads me along the right paths, true to the Holy Name.
Reader 1: Enemies are all around me, like a herd of wild bulls, like ravening and roaring lions, their mouths wide open.
Reader 2: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
Reader 1: I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is melted like wax within me; my mouth is dried up like a broken pot, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
Reader 2: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil;
Reader 1: Brutal enemies attack me like a pack of dogs; My hands and feet have shrivelled; I can count all my bones.
Reader 2: My cup overflows.
Reader 1: They stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Reader 2: Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
Reader 1: But you, O My God, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the wild dogs! Save me from the mouth of the lion!
Reader 2: And I will live forever in God’s house.
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