Sunday, August 15, 2021 (Day 71)

Katie Snipes Lancaster

Psalm 71 (from Robert Altar’s 2007 translation)
In You, O Lord, I shelter…
For You are my hope, Master,
O Lord, my refuge since youth.

An Opening Word
There is obviously much more to Psalm 71 than just the three lines above, but I think they are important words to hone in on in a week that, at least at the international level, has had familiar horrific disruptions: I can’t stop thinking of Afghanistan, Haiti, and the Delta variant: recycled twenty-first century themes that are bringing real suffering to vulnerable communities. When order turns to chaos, whether from war, natural disaster, or disease it is “Lord, my refuge” that becomes our only hope. Even if geologists, epidemiologists, or political scientists could have predicted these realities as live possibilities, they are still trauma, shelter-destroying either literally, or metaphorically. A deep embedded faith “since youth” can be the only place to turn when the world turns upside down. What this Psalm study has made me realize about the language of faith is that the gentle words like “In You, O Lord, I shelter” come about in the most impossible of situations, not from a place of comfort or privilege, but from real embodied need.

Today’s mystic Richard Rohr, may be a mystic who is easy to ease into. He writes this century (a new book published even this year) and he writes in a way that is accessible, not theo-technical, and he writes about the heart of the matter. His book “The Naked Now: Seeing As the Mystics See” he makes a provocative claim: “One of the most subtle ways to avoid imitating someone is to put them on a pedestal, above and apart from us. When you accept that Jesus was not merely divine but human as well, you can begin to see how you are not separate from Jesus. Open yourself to recognizing the great paradoxes within Jesus. Then you can begin to hold those same opposites together within yourself.” It pushes us to recognize the way mysticism is not some beyond-spiritual encounter, but an earthy, accessible attentiveness to the presence of God right here, within our own bodies, within our very lived lives.

Prayer from the Mystics: Richard Rohr (born 1943)
Pure Gift of God
Indwelling Presence
Reminder of the Mystery
Stable Witness
Mutual Yearning Place
Given Glory
Hidden Love of God
Implanted Hope
You who pray in us
Through us
With us
For us
In spite of us
Amen
Alleluia!