Made Low and Crowned High
Hope of Glory

Beloved and Accepted

David Prays for Deliverence Schnorr_von_Carolsfeld_Bibel_in_Bildern_1860_136

Christology and "Humanology"

A Prayer on Tap 

There is nothing that stands between us and the God of the Universe as we honestly pray. 

I need a prayer song and I need it now! 

So, the heart has insisted with restless desperation more than once. 

Psalm 38 is a template of timely prayer for anyone who has suffered or is suffering. It gives voice and emotion to the cry of the heart that struggles to emerge. It holds a mirror before our souls so that we can know what we may be feeling within. 

The psalm takes our innermost thoughts and makes them accessible to us so that we might express them to God. 

We do not always have words. The prayers of the ancients provide us with words that we can borrow on the occasion of our pain.  

We do not always have a keen sense of what we are feeling. The psalms suggest possibilities. 

We can pray these words and feelings with confidence that, whether or not they are accurate for our lives, they received by God with acceptance and love. 

Furthermore, they assure us that we are not alone. 

Whatever we may experience, others have experienced it as well. Whatever mountain we must climb, it has been climbed by others before us. Whatever horror we face, has been faced. Whatever assault we see coming, it has been overcome by others with God’s help. 

The grace of God is more powerful than your challenges. 

The mercy of God is greater than your guilt. 

The love of God is stronger than any darts of hate tossed in your direction. 

The song of God is more melodic and unhindered than any cacophony of bitterness. It harmonizes with God’s theme and crescendos above the dissonance of any oncoming threat. 

The song is a prayer, and the prayer is a song we are invited to sing to and with God. 

It is in the singing and the praying that we approach the place of peace. 

There is nothing that stands between us and the God of the Universe as we honestly pray. 

Psalm 38 Domine, ne in furore 

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; * 

do not punish me in your wrath. 

 For your arrows have already pierced me, * 

and your hand presses hard upon me. 

 There is no health in my flesh, 

because of your indignation; * 

there is no soundness in my body, because of my sin. 

 For my iniquities overwhelm me; * 

like a heavy burden they are too much for me to bear 

 My wounds stink and fester * 

by reason of my foolishness. 

I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; * 

I go about in mourning all the day long. 

My loins are filled with searing pain; * 

there is no health in my body. 

I am utterly numb and crushed; * 

I wail, because of the groaning of my heart. 

O Lord, you know all my desires, * 

and my sighing is not hidden from you. 

My heart is pounding, my strength has failed me, * 

and the brightness of my eyes is gone from me. 

My friends and companions draw back from my affliction; * 

my neighbors stand afar off. 

Those who seek after my life lay snares for me; * 

those who strive to hurt me speak of my ruin 

and plot treachery all the day long. 

But I am like the deaf who do not hear, * 

like those who are mute and who do not open their mouth. 

I have become like one who does not hear * 

and from whose mouth comes no defense. 

For in you, O Lord, have I fixed my hope; * 

you will answer me, O Lord my God. 

For I said, “Do not let them rejoice at my expense, * 

those who gloat over me when my foot slips.” 

Truly, I am on the verge of falling, * 

and my pain is always with me. 

I will confess my iniquity * 

and be sorry for my sin. 

Those who are my enemies without cause are mighty, * 

and many in number are those who wrongfully hate me. 

Those who repay evil for good slander me, * 

because I follow the course that is right. 

O Lord, do not forsake me; * 

be not far from me, O my God. 

Make haste to help me, * 

 O Lord of my salvation. 


If God Had a Face  

 I repeat: There is nothing that stands between us and the God of the Universe as we honestly pray. 

This is because of who God is more than because of who we are. 

How do we know this God who is ready to hear us and receive us? 

Jesus, the Christ. 

 "Jesus Christ is the human face of God." - Jürgen Moltmann 

This is profound Christology, finding its basis in our epistle reading of the day from Colossians 1. 

It is good news according to Paul. 

It is transforming. 

 It draws in those who have been "afar." 

 "For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things..." 

 At the center of the Christ event activity is the cross, reaching outward, reaching upward, drawing in, extending down, lifting up. 

This Christology shatters the walls of estrangement and explodes the remnants of all hostility. 

The call to action is to "continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. " 

 This is our epistle lesson for the day. 

Colossians 1:15-23 (NRSVU) 

He is the image of the invisible God, 

the firstborn of all creation; 

for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, 

things visible and invisible, 

whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers-

- all things have been created through him and for him. 

He himself is before all things, 

and in him all things hold together. 

He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. 

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him-- provided that you 

I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

 Because Jesus, the Christ is beloved and is the very human face of God, humanity is accepted in him.

God’s Christology – My Beloved Son 

 Matthew 3:13-17 

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  

And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." 

 God is well pleased with Jesus and Jesus brings us along to meet God at the place of grace and acceptance. This is Christology and “humanology” wrapped into one person and event. 


Art - David Prays for Deliverance, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld