You have caused friend and neighbor to shun me; my companions are in darkness. Psalm 88 NRSV
This is an unusual psalm because it ends with this verse. Prayers are not answered in this psalm. Only the request for help and connection to God ends this psalm and prayer.
I think this psalm really spoke to me this morning because I am about to go to a meeting where I will see many of my friends and neighbors and I am wondering if I will be shunned. Will people speak to me? Will I be ignored? Will people be talking about me? Wondering about my career choices? Would I have a better chance of getting their attention on facebook rather than face-to-face?
I realize how self-absorbed this all sounds. Then I realize that most likely everyone else will be thinking the same thing. Folks will be too concerned about how others are seeing them that they probably will have little chance to focus on me. If I am shunned it will probably be because they are also self-absorbed.
But is it part of the Christian faith to be surrounded by friends? Is it not to be following our Lord Christ Jesus? Would it not be better to be focused on God's attention rather than our friends' attention? In fact, parts of this psalm says that God is punishing them because their companions have abandoned them and they are overwhelmed by their troubles. But is that truly God's punishment? Does God not have greater things in store for those who are abandoned and full of troubles?
Christ was not only abandoned by his friends, he was betrayed by one of his closest companions. Yet, he was willing to forgive those who would accept his forgiveness. He even forgave those who actually killed him. And God forgave all of us who denied and executed Jesus. Part of being God's chosen is to be shunned by others. However, God will be there with us. Even when life seems to be an instrument of God's punishment, God will never abandon us.
God, thank you for your constant companionship. May I focus on your presence this day. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims