Monday of the Week of Advent III
Hear my plea of innocence, O Lord; give heed to my cry;
listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips.
Let my vindication come forth from your presence; let your eyes be fixed on justice.
Weigh my heart, summon me by night, melt me down; you will find no impurity in me…
My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law; in your paths my feet shall not stumble.
I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me;
incline your ear to me and hear my words. (Psalm 17)
As we read this psalm, is sounds more like we are in the season of Lent than Advent. It is clearly a psalm of Christ, the voice of Jesus crying out to the Father’s ear. “Hear my plea of innocence; give heed to my cry, vindicate me.”
Jesus, alone, is innocent, pure, unwavering as his feet hold fast to the ways of the law, never stumbling on his way to Golgotha and the cross. Jesus, during his earthly life, passion and death, could rightly pray, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who assault me, from my deadly enemies who surround me… They press me hard, now they surround me, watching how they may cast me to the ground, like a lion, greedy for its prey, and like a young lion lurking in secret places.”
This may be too much Lent and Holy Week for some, this third week of Advent, with Christmas fast approaching. Where is the star, Pastor Wendel? Where are the angels and shepherds and cattle lowing softly and lambs nuzzling the baby? There is always this tension in Christianity, isn’t there? Law and Gospel. Sin and Grace. Manger and Cross. Death and Resurrection.
When we are journeying through Lent on the way to Good Friday, let us see the star of Bethlehem leading the way. Even as we see, now, the shape of the cross in the outstretched arms of the Christ child. The final words of the psalm give us hope, as Jesus says, “But at my vindication I shall see your face (O Father God); when I awake, I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.”
Prayer: Lord, keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings. Amen.
Advent Action: Read Luke 23:1-56, the Passion of our Lord.