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The Forward Day by Day Meditation for July 1, 2022

We post a Forward Day by Day Meditation for every day of the year - and we invite you to consider them and talk about them here. If you'd like to comment, you can log in to Disqus with your Facebook, Twitter, or Google account; just click "Login," or the appropriate logo below. Or, you can sign up for a Disqus account; just use the entry form below, or click the "D" logo to start the process. You can find the past week's Meditations in the box at right (or below, for mobile users), or search for previous entries on the Archives page. You can also listen to the Forward Day by Day podcast anywhere you find podcasts!

FRIDAY, July 1
[Pauli Murray]

Psalm 140:10 Let hot burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the mire, never to rise up again.

Ouch.

The psalms can be full of anger, from the brutally violent to the elegantly cruel (let my enemies melt away like a snail in the heat, implores one). I’ve never been able to get used to reading these sorts of things aloud together in Morning Prayer. But do some of the same lines that disturb me in prayer come to mind when I’ve been really hurt? Oh yeah.

The people who gave birth to these texts were not uniquely angry—they were just human. That these threats come to us as prayer is a helpful lesson. Instead of dismissing them as thoughts we ought not to have, what if we acknowledged them? I can’t recall a single psalm that prays for personal revenge—only that God would work justice for the people. Acknowledging our anger—and that justice belongs to God alone—can be the first step in truly praying for our enemies.

MOVING FORWARD: In time, prayer works its changing power on us. Maybe one day we’ll end up like Baalam, who made an exasperated King Balak cry, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times. Now be off with you!”

PRAY for the Diocese of Malek (South Sudan)

Ps 140, 142 * 141, 143:1-11(12) | Numbers 24:1-13 | Romans 8:12-17 | Matthew 22:15-22

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