Psalm 32 Page 447 LP 794
1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.Selah
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.Selah
6 Therefore let all who are faithful
offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
shall not reach them.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.
Message “I Did not Hide” Rev. James. Renfrew
There is a six-week season leading up the Cross called Lent. Today is the fifth Sunday of that season. Lent is a word that you might not know. It comes from a very old English word that means Spring. Believe me, I am very glad for signs of Spring today.
But Lent is more than a season, I think it is better to think of Lent as a journey, from where you are right now to the Cross and beyond, to eternity. Eternity? Yes, absolutely, and the next step you take could take you one step closer to eternity. We are here as a church to help and encourage one another to take those next steps.
A journey to Jerusalem is a geographic journey, step by step covering the distance from where you are to Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives the Cross and the empty tomb. Across the ocean, on long roads, you could do it. It still happens, there could be tens of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world visiting Jerusalem in the next two weeks, all endeavoring to walk in the actual footsteps of Jesus, and to await the sunrise on Easter morning. He’s alive! And you’re there to see it.
A journey to Jerusalem is a spiritual journey, moving through the many challenges, obstacles and distractions placed between you and eternity, obstacles perhaps put there by the Evil One, but also obstacles you’ve put there all by yourself.
A journey to Jerusalem is a political journey in the sense of having to navigate all of the strong and contradictory opinions of people around us about what the journey really means. And don’t be distressed by that word “political”, because everything that motivated Jesus’ friends to support him and his enemies to convict him was very political.
A journey to Jerusalem could be an inward journey, each of the forty days centered on a prayer and reflection. You don’t have to go anywhere except your own favorite chair, and yet you are moving closer to eternity.
A journey to Jerusalem could be a mission journey, each day marking new commitments to other people through One Great Hour of Sharing and other local and international causes. This month we are inviting people to contribute household items to the YWCA for local families trying to get a new start after suffering through domestic violence. Next month it will be something else. Perhaps the quotes on page six of the bulletin will help you think about how loving and kind gestures toward others move us all closer to eternity.
A journey to Jerusalem could be a musical journey. Whenever I travel I have music on the radio. I enjoy playing music with friends on Sunday afternoon in Brockport. Even sitting at home certain songs just end up becoming part of the journey. I think the musical journey is one we love because we have so much joy singing our favorite hymns on Easter morning.
I have been sharing readings from the Psalms in these weeks leading up to the Cross. There are 150 psalms, but there are all kinds of them; some of them are poetry, some of them are songs, some of them are happy and joyful, some of them are angry or sad.
I chose to read Psalm 32 this morning because it represents the entire journey, from where you are right now all the way to eternity, and may have elements of some of the other kinds of journeys I just described.
The journey in this psalm starts in sin, fear, pain, with deceit and dishonesty, groaning about all of the world’s problems, hiding who we are, thinking that God does not notice or care.
But by the end of the psalm, it is all about praise and gladness, and a big shout for joy. So if you are looking for a map or guidebook to take on your journey, you could take Psalm 32 with you. Beginning right here, right now, and with the troubles of the present time close at hand, but moving forward with honesty, trust, to emerge from our hiding place to embrace all that God offers in Jesus Christ.
I deeply appreciate how the Psalm was presented to us this morning, not in the normal way that we hear Scripture on a Sunday morning, but with musical interludes. We know that this is how Psalm 32 was originally read in worship 2500 years ago. We don’t know the exact kind of music was used, but the word “selah” seems to be an instruction to musicians, the conductor lifting the baton to signify “hit it!”. Selah, Everyone shout “amen” if the psalm speaks to you! Selah, Everyone start singing along to show your readiness to get on board with the message. Selah, Blast those trumpets to wake us up. Selah, Strum the harp to assuage troubled souls. Selah, Beat the drums to set the pace for transformation. Selah, Rattle the tambourine to break through our stubbornness. Selah, Sound the flute and pipes to lift our spirits! Selah, selah, selah!
I hope you will find some “selah” moments in whatever form your journey takes. Moments for an interlude, a breather, a musical flourish, a heavenly chorus, a chance to unplug, a chance to reflect, a moment to pray. A moment to delight in your fellow travelers!