By Edgar Twedt
It’s amazing how the signs of Lent jump out at us daily, and even more amazing how easily we can miss them. This beautiful psalm is a wonderful reminder of the amazing signs of Lent which are all around us. This is especially true when we realize that the true focus of Lent is God’s self. In the Psalm there are more than twenty references to God, either by name or metaphor or pronoun. The focus is entirely on our God. And that, of course, is exactly where the focus of Lent belongs. Of course it’s about introspection and reexamining our own lives, but it’s always about reexamining them in the light of who God is, and who God is to us.
As I’ve looked at these powerful words they’ve reminded me of the many places where God touches our lives as we travel through these Lenten days of our lives. Listen to the metaphors that the Psalmist has given us: “My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast.” “In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.” “I meditate on you in the watches of the night.” “Your right hand upholds me.” “Your steadfast love is better than life.” What powerful, uplifting, moving language this is, reaching out to us from God’s self, enfolding us in his love in this Lenten season.
Now listen to the Psalmist as he tells of his personal relationship to God: “My soul thirsts for you.” “I think of you in my bed.” “My soul longs for you.” “In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.”
There is another dimension here, however, toward which this Psalm should point us. Just as the psalmist sees and describes God in such a great variety, there is similar variety all around us. We hear God’s voice in the Scriptures, we see God in our symbols, we feel God’s touch in the love of our sisters and brothers, we hear God’s voice in our music, and in countless other ways. The real key is to keep our antenna tuned as we travel through this Lenten season with our focus on God’s self, and on ourselves only insofar as we focus on our relationship to God.
In many ways the language of this Psalm reminds us of two contradictory things. We are often, perhaps always, tongue-tied when it comes to focusing our attention on God’s self, but when we focus our attention on God’s self we experience God’s presence in unspeakable ways. We experience what theologians call the ineffability of God; we experience what we cannot define. And it is that experience that God calls us to as we travel through this Lenten season to our Lord’s glorious resurrection.