“O God, do not be far from me”…Holy Tuesday Lectionary

Today’s lectionary passage is Psalm 71:1-14.

1 In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
   let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
   incline your ear to me and save me.
3 Be to me a rock of refuge,
   a strong fortress,* to save me,
   for you are my rock and my fortress.
4 Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
   from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
5 For you, O Lord, are my hope,
   my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
6 Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
   it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.
7 I have been like a portent to many,
   but you are my strong refuge.
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
   and with your glory all day long.
9 Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
   do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
10 For my enemies speak concerning me,
   and those who watch for my life consult together.
11 They say, ‘Pursue and seize that person
   whom God has forsaken,
   for there is no one to deliver.’
12 O God, do not be far from me;
   O my God, make haste to help me!
13 Let my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
   let those who seek to hurt me
   be covered with scorn and disgrace.
14 But I will hope continually,
   and will praise you yet more and more.

What happens when one feels that G-d is far away? The beginning of the psalm says that its author takes refuge in the Lord, yet a few verses later begs G-d to not be far away. What does it mean to take refuge? And what happens when that refuge seems to to be far from you?

 

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