>My wife and I have been going through the Lenten reader that Asbury Seminary put out for Lent this year. We’ve been struck by the pain that comes across in the Scripture readings. Usually you would think that this would be an uplifting time to prepare us for the remembrance of the resurrection, but the readings have really focused on the downtrodden. There have been a lot from Jeremiah, mostly laments and cries for justice and freedom from oppression, but there is also a delight in knowing that the enemy will be defeated. Is this what Lent is for? Lent is preparation for Easter. It is a time of soul-searching and repentance. In a way, then, the answer is “Yes.” Would I encourage people to delight in the destruction of their enemies? Probably not. This is not the attitude displayed by Christ. We, as fallen humanity, can have the tendency to misplace our anger and misdirect our frustrations. I’m not necessarily sure if this is what Jeremiah is doing in his writings, or what the Psalm writer is doing in his. There is rejoicing at the defeat of enemies that is to come, but I don’t think that defeat of the enemies is really the focal point. A natural consequence of an enemy’s defeat is the victory of God. Ultimately, this is what Lent is about – the victory of God in Christ. So, what does all this have to do with Psalm 92?

Psalm 92 is primarily praise for the mighty works of God. In the midst of it all (vv. 6-7, 11) is the defeat of the enemies of God – the senseless man, the wicked, evildoers, adversaries, wicked foes. These are people that are not only opposed to the Psalm writer, but who are opposed to God as well. Ultimately, Lent is about the defeat of The Enemy. In this time of introspection and repentance, the Enemy of God is defeated time and time again. This is only part of what has caught my attention in this passage. The second thing, which is a consequence of the defeat of the Enemy, is the flourishing of the faithful – more specifically, vv.14-15.

The Psalm ends with the building up of the faithful. Those who rely on the strength of God will “still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’” (Ps 92:14-15). My prayer today is that I may stay the course with Christ, that I may also be able to say that I still bear fruit in my old age, that I will stay fresh and green. The thing about ministry is that it is not an easy task. If one is not called to ministry, then one should not go into ministry. Ministers affect people at the deepest levels of existence. For someone as introverted as myself, this takes a lot of energy. I already know that I will need time to myself every day. If I can do this, then ministry will not be a job or a task, but a fulfillment of all that God has called me to be. If I can live everyday knowing this truth, then I am certain that I will continue to bear the fruit of the Lord daily, even on days when I certainly do not feel adequate, or up to task.

Just some musings from a traveling pilgrim.

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