Opening: 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers

Monday, June 28, 2021 (Day 28)

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Psalm 28 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)
To You, O Lord, I call.
My Rock, do not be deaf to me.
Lest You be mute to me
and I be like those gone down to the pit….
Rescue Your people
and bless Your estate.
Tend them, bear them up for all time.

An Opening Word
Psalm 28 begins with an intensely personal, confessional tone, all about a personal one-on-one relationship with God, but by the end, the Psalmist is advocating, not just for themselves, but for all God’s people. This change of heart or widening of the scope of the Psalm occurs after the Psalmist declares that they had been saved, rescued, released from the threat of enemies drawn round. Once the Psalmist feels as if the initial personal threat is over, they can advocate for a wider circle of prayer for God’s protection. I see this as the airline attendant mode of prayer: put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help a neighbor with their oxygen mask. Pray for your own rescue first, and then find breath to pray for your neighbor, and community.

Today’s mystic equally advocates for this personal one-on-one relationship with God and prioritizes the inner spiritual connection to God. Madame Guyon was born in France in 1648, and at a young age, was married to a man 22 years her elder. She had an unhappy marriage mostly due to mother-in-law issues, and when she was widowed in 1676, she emerged in lock-step with her Quietist faith (a theological worldview much despised by the Catholic powerhouses of the day that she was imprisoned on and off from 1695 onward). I loved learning that many women mystics, including Madame Guyon, wrote biblical commentaries that accompanied their spiritual autobiographies, despite having no formal training in biblical exegesis or theology, since such training was not available to women at the time.

Madame Guyon says, “As soon as you come into the presence of God, remain in respectful silence for a little while…Simply Enjoy God.” It is this attentiveness to silence that defines Quietist faith, a seeking of unification, with the divine through making still ones own thoughts, so that God might rise up in that solitude. No surprise, George Fox a founding father of the Quaker movement, was influenced by the Quietist movement, and went on to place silence at the core of his communal expression of faith.

Prayer from the Mystics: Madame Guyon (1648–1717)
O Uncreated Love!
Silent and Eternal Word!
and convert;
make Thyself
be heard,
and beloved!

June 28, 2021

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