Summary: A lenten midweek service about how God rescues us when we look to Him - Psalm 121
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit – the Holy Three In One who does not sleep, but comes to our aid on all things, amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ;
There seems to be something missing from the Psalmist’s question in our reading for today. He doesn’t tell us the back-story for his problem. He says “I lift my eyes to the hills, From where does my help come from?” We want to question him, “WHAT do you need help with? If you tell us, we can go get a doctor or a television evangelist or a lawyer.” We don’t know what the original story behind this Psalm was, but if you would, imagine that it goes something like this…
You’ve been climbing this mountain for four days now. You’re tired. You’re hungry. Every time your hand grips another piece of rock, it feels like it will lock and freeze to the mountain. It’s cold. And windy. The wind feels faster and faster on your face until your whole body begins to move and shake like a puppet on a string. Suddenly your strong hands give way, you begin to feel weightless. Just about the time that you realize that you’re falling you feel your legs crumple beneath you as you hit the craggy rock ledge.
Suddenly its quiet. The wind dies down. You’re left alone. Your leg juts out at an angle that it has never been in before. You taste your own blood in your mouth and feel the spot where a tooth once was, but has now been knocked free. You struggle to sit up and see a pool of blood begin to trickle from your broken leg. In only a matter of hours you know you will bleed to death.
It is then that you look to the hills that surround you. You’ve never felt so utterly alone. You begin to wish that you could just see someone’s face, even if you were still going to die, you just want to see another human face looking at you. You cry out in desperation, “HELP! Is anyone there?” There is no response. You continue calling out to no one, “help! Help! Can anyone hear me? Just come and be with me! Please help! Please…”
Well, you’re probably thinking to yourself, I’d never be in that kind of situations. Rock climbing isn’t my thing. I’m not into those kinds of adventures, I don’t put myself at risk unnecessarily. I couldn’t even begin to climb a mountain at my age. But haven’t you cried out like that at one point in your life? Is there sometime when you called out and seemed to hear nothing but your own echo in return? Was it the day that he or she died? Was it when you lost your job? Was it when the romance was over? Was it when you got caught? Was it when you had to deal with the reality of your situation after pretending everything was ok?
What did that call sound like? Did you try to seek help from all of the usual places? Did you listen to the radio or watch TV just in hopes of a song or an episode that would tell you the answer? Did you go to your favorite book? Did you go to a friend and ask their advice? Did you even try flipping to a random page in the Bible just hoping and praying that there would be SOMETHING there for you?
Back on the mountain, it feels like hours since you last cried out to the world for help. Your throat is sore from yelling at the top of your lungs. Your face is encrusted with dried sweat. Your facial muscles ache from crying. The blood loss has made you tired. You lay back and look up the mountain. You begin to remember the words of a song or something that you heard once, “my help is from the lord..” and before you can finish your thought you see someone in a brown hooded robe look over the ledge at you. In what seems like a flash, He’s beside you, feeling your forehead, investigating your wounds.
This stranger looks up to the heavens that you were looking at when you saw Him. He lets out a deep sigh. “Great,” you think to yourself, “now He’s giving up on me too.” He places His hands on your face. You begin to have flashes of visions in your head. You assume that this must be your life flashing before your eyes before you die.
But there is something different about this vision. It’s not you. It’s a man. He’s being hit. He’s being spit upon. They press something onto His head and beat his face with sticks. They are making Him carry something. They are putting nails through His arms. They are putting a nail in His feet.