Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lent 3a - Psalm 95

"Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" - Salvador Dalí (1954)

Psalm 95
Those of us who were born into Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pews some fifty years ago will remember Psalm 95 as the Venite in the Order of Matins. It was printed on pages 33 and 34 of The Lutheran Hymnal in such a way that one had to flip back and forth throughout the singing of it. We frowned on user friendly worship in those days. Venite is Latin for “Come” and served as the call to worship, though if I remember correctly we left out the threats at the end where God loathing the “they do not regard my ways” people swore to lead them in circles until every last one of them died in the desert. There is no doubt that the hardening of the heart leads to spiritual cardiac arrest but I have difficulty imaging that God loathes those on spiritual life support. The consequence we suffer for not listening to the Lord’s voice is that we are on our own. That does not mean we suffer the hatred of God who in anger despises the “people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand” who don’t toe the line. Rather for the sake of “a people whose hearts go astray” the shepherd “was led like a lamb to the slaughter…” (Isaiah 53:7) O come let us worship and bow down for the Lord was put to the test and the proof of God’s intention for every generation of hardened hearts was the cross.


  1. Gaining clarity on what it means to be hard-hearted can be a difficult task. Jesus described Pharisees as hard-hearted, yet they had broad mainstream ideological/religious support among the non-secular Jewish people Jesus was addressing. Pharisees certainly weren't seen as weak in the area of regarding "God's ways." If anything they fanatically adhered to Mosaic law and tradition.
    Perhaps Jesus described them as hard-hearted because they were unable to understand that the greatest value of God's "law" for our lives and for our world is that it has the power to transform us, to make us more than we would otherwise be. I would say that God's intention for every generation starts with the cross, but in many real ways doesn't end there. I think too many people (not you Phil) want to keep Jesus hanging on the cross. As long as Jesus is permanently up there on the cross suffering for my eternal salvation, I really don't have to struggle that much with what it means to have Him among us, walking next to me and within me.
    Perhaps the beauty of Lent is that we have to struggle with application - with what all of this really means for our lives.

  2. Thanks Greg! I always appreciate your comments. Glad your still out there!