Sunday, March 29, 2009

Learning

At Lent Wednesday night we talked about the discipline of poverty.

Psalm 102 describes it as: A prayer of an afflicted man. When he is faint and pours out his lament before the lord.

When we think of poverty, we think of those people in need of finances. But there is so much more.

Pastor took a verse from Psalm & broke it down for us. Check this out.

(v. 2) "Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress." This is a state of need.
(v. 3) "For my days vanish like smoke: my bones burn like glowing embers."
This describes feeling pain.
(v. 4) "My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food."
This describes emotional pain. I remember a time when I was so upset before going into the hospital for surgery, that I couldn't eat.
(v. 9) "For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears."
Filled with sorrow.

As Pastor says, these are a set of conditions that set the context for the prayer of the heart - a prayer rooted in deep human need for God.

Is it no wonder that I am starting to feel better?

The Gospel text reminds us that physical poverty will be present always, but spiritual poverty is something to be sought after - a poverty that finds the need fulfilled in Christ.

(v. 13) "You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is a time to show favor to her, the appointed time has come.
In Chirst, God acts to provide us the strength we cry out for.

There is another message in these verses that I have left out, but is included in Pastor's conclusion -

We are called to work to lessen the pain of physical poverty in our world, even as we are called to embrace for ourselves the discipline of spiritual poverty through which Christ is magnified in our lives.

It was possible for me to remember these words as Pastor provides us with an outline of the service on paper.