Psalm: 69:1-23
Gospel: John 12:9-19
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Augustine

Photo Credit: Fr. Dave Giffen of The Anglican Church of the Transfiguration (Toronto, ON)

More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
many are those who would destroy me,
my enemies who accuse me falsely.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. (Ps. 69:4-5)

I recently read Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. The book is an open meditation on what it means to be the Church….the community of God.

In his section on the Psalms…he offers an intriguing interpretation of what the Church is doing when it reads, chants or sings the from what he calls the “Prayerbook of the Bible”:

“The Man Jesus Christ, whom no affliction, no ill, no suffering is alien and who yet was the wholly innocent and righteous one, is praying in the Psalter through the mouth of his Church. The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word. He prayed the Psalter and now it has become his prayer for all time. . . . Jesus Christ prays through the Psalter in his congregation. His congregation prays too, the individual prays. But here he prays, in so far as Christ prays within him, not in his own name, but in the Name of Jesus Christ. . . .

The Psalter is the vicarious prayer of Christ for his Church. . . . This prayer belongs, not to the individual member but to the whole Body of Christ. Only in the whole Christ does the whole Psalter become a reality, a whole which the individual can never fully comprehend and call his own. That is why the prayer of the psalms belongs in a peculiar way to the fellowship. . . .

In the Psalter we learn to pray on the basis of Christ’s prayer. . . .”

In our prayer life together…..and especially in the recitation of Psalms..we are of one voice…..one hope. Bonhoeffer goes even further to say that the parts in the Psalms which are difficult for us to understand….are in fact rooted and spoken in the Word of God…

In taking all the pain and sin of the world unto Himself…Christ can speak both knowing the fullness of God’s presence and God’s glory…but also to know the depths of despair that come with the Flesh and the rejection of the righteous.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that the Psalms is one of the books that I struggle with the most. And yet, in reading Life Together I realize that I don’t have to comprehend everything I read. I don’t have to understand all of Scripture and Sacred Mystery. Instead, I am too walk hand in hand with my brothers and sisters…..knowing that Christ–the Word and Rock on which we are founded–speaks for us, in us, and through us.

For that…I give many thanks to God 🙂 +

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