Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor. May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations. May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
Youth Band at a Fat Tuesday Celebration
When I was in High School I was fortunate to help form a youth band at my home church. A number of us would gather on a weekly basis in the sanctuary playing contemporary Christian music with guitars, bass, drums, and singers. We always had an adult present in order to fulfill the Childcare Protection Policy, but we largely did everything on our own; we picked the music, practiced accordingly, and planned performances throughout the year.
Though I had been attending church my entire life, it was during this period that I began to have a serious appreciation for worship, scripture, and prayer. We would talk about the lyrics of the songs regarding their connection with biblical verses, we debated about how songs should be played in order to indicate the mood of a service, and we began and ended every practice with prayer.
One of my best friends growing up was a regular for leading prayer at the end of practice. He was often filled with joy (and by the Spirit) and would wave his arms back in forth while we stood hand in hand in a circle. His way of prayer was unlike anything else I had experienced. Whereas many would pray in some sort of elevated way (“Oh Great and Holy Majestic God who knows no bounds, commit thyself to mercy” etc) Will always sounded as if he was talking to another one of his friends. God, for Will, was a constant companion, a trusted friend, and a exciting partner on this journey of life. Will’s prayers were life-giving for all of there because he made God so much more approachable for all of us. Moreover, the prayers were never limited to our specific needs as teenagers, or even as a band, but they flowed over every element of life. Will would pray for the weather (every week), the other people of our church and school, our futures, and justice in the world. He might not know it, but Will taught all of us how to be in relationship with God, and with one another.
The psalmist writes regarding the coming Messiah, “May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.” Our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is one that meets us at every moment of our lives, the glorious and the mundane. God confronts us in magnitude and in simplicity. As we continue to shape ourselves into disciples of Jesus Christ, our prayers should always be for the one who falls like rain on the mown grass of our lives.
And so, in this holiday season filled with reunion and sacrifice, remember that Christ is a living presence in your life. When you go to God in prayer, let the words of Psalm 72 help to anticipate God’s coming reign, and our responsibility to live into God’s kingdom of justice on earth here and now. Let us all pray like Will, pray for God to reign abundantly in our hearts so that we might all come within his warm and peaceful embrace.