The Daily Office | March 7, 2018
Psalms 35, 36
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Third Sunday in Lent
Heavenly Father, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you: Look with compassion upon the heartfelt desires of your servants, and purify our disordered affections, that we may behold your eternal glory in the face of Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This song of Moses has always struck me in reading through Exodus. It’s so easy for us to focus only on the plot in these narrative parts of Scripture and just breeze over the interjected prayers, songs, laments, and celebrations that accompany them. Funnily enough, we do the same in real life. We focus on the plots of our lives, moving from one thing to next, but seldom pausing to pray, sing, lament, or celebrate God’s role in our plot.
We have much to learn from our ancient brothers and sisters in that regard. Think of Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2 or Mary’s song in Luke 1. Their prayers and praises are deeply heartfelt and theologically profound. When you read them you begin to sense the emotion pouring from their lips and feel it along with them.
Think of the Israelites who sang along with Moses here. They’ve just seen with their own eyes as God miraculously delivered them from peril at the sword of the pursuing Egyptian army. They watched as God raised up the waters for them to pass through and looked back to see him throw the waters back down on the Egyptians. They were rescued, and they rightly paused to sing God’s praises.
This song is our song too. It’s part of God’s story and we are part of God’s story. What God did for Israel in the Exodus, he did for us eternally on the cross - rescued us from peril. So as you read these songs and prayers in Scripture, pause to dwell on them. Sing and pray with your ancient brothers and sisters. When the plot of your life brings occasion for praise or celebration, lament or prayer, look to these passages and know you are in good company. Moses’s song is Israel’s song. It’s the Church’s song and it’s your song.