Monday, April 7, 2011
Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me.
- Psalm 27 (excerpt)
I’ve always connected Lent with the sacrifice of giving up your favorite foods, giving up television, giving up anger, and I’ve even heard some people say they are giving up swear words. However, Lent is much more than sacrificing food, anger and television!
As I began to read more Lenten scriptures, my understanding became clearer. Although the brief definition above is how I’ve always understood Lent. It’s not just sacrificing something for you; it’s also sacrificing something for others as well.
In this great anthem of praise, David expresses his confidence in the Lord (vv. 1-6), prays for continued victory (vv. 7-12), and rejoices in his waiting on the Lord (vv. 13-14). Light dispels the anxieties and dangers of darkness; salvation guarantees the defeat of all adversaries; strength (“stronghold”) assures victory against all assaults. Although this is an anthem of praise, through reading different yet related scriptures, I have located other sacrificial scriptures relating to Lent including the following:
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate, forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13: 15-16)
The believers’ sacrifices are praise, to do good, and to communicate.
Regina Hunter is on staff at McCormick Theological Seminary in the Doctor of Ministry Office.