Deliver me27.  Deliver me

“Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation”

–  Psalm 51:14a

Ironic, that.   “Deliver me from bloodshed, O God.”  As we recall the traditional setting of Psalm 51 and David’s sin, we remember how David arranged to have Bathsheba’s husband Uriah killed in the course of battle to cover up David’s exploitation of Bathsheba.    In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah.  In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die”  (2 Samuel 11:14-15).

How often is it that we ask God to spare us in ways that we don’t spare others.   Be patient with us God, we might pray, as we’re short with our child, spouse or someone else at church.    Forgive us Lord, as we hold tight to grudges that may be days, weeks, months, years, decades old.   Be gracious to us Lord, as we weave aggressively through traffic because the person in front of us isn’t driving quickly enough.  Protect us Lord, as we avoid the beggar on the street.

But God handles irony well.  At the beginning of the gospel of Matthew there is a genealogy that traces Jesus’ lineage from Abraham down through David.  At that spot in the genealogy, it reads, “David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife” (Matthew 1:6).  Bathsheba has a place in the lineage but not a name.  She is only known as “Uriah’s wife.”    And in that turn of phrase, the scripture witnesses to the sins of David.   As it happens, this Jesus would preach and teach and heal his way through Matthew’s gospel, and then come to a point of sacrifice upon the cross.   And it would indeed be bloody.

In a couple weeks, we will gather for a meal on Maundy Thursday and then a Tenebrae service.  During the meal, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper, we will share communion with one another.  In passing the bread, we will say “this is the body of Christ, broken for you.”  And in sharing the juice, we will say “this is the blood of Christ, shed for you.”

Deliver us all from bloodshed, O God, God of our salvation.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Our world knows too much bloodshed.  Bloodshed from violence.  Bloodshed from sickness.  There are other wounds we have where the bleeding is less visible, but the injuries are real.  Deliver us from all of these cuts.  And as you do, lead us to treat each other with mercy, caring, forgiveness and love.

Amen

 

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