I’ve been finding Morning Prayer especially fruitful recently, in the unpromising ground of Lenten readings through the prophets. I posted these thoughts on Facebook at the time, but Facebook is no way to archive anything, so thought I’d copy these over here for the record.
It is a tenet of classical Anglicanism that an honest reading of Scripture will point us to Jesus. This morning at Morning Prayer, we read Jeremiah 14, an exchange between the prophet Jeremiah and God, where God pushes back hard against Jeremiah. It makes uncomfortable reading. I was reminded of how Jesus pushed back at people, in order that they might make a step in faith - women were particularly good at engaging with this. Might it be that God says things that are not the final word, or even necessarily revelation of God’s true view, but that push us to discover something that we would not discover except in the struggle?
In Jesus, God responds to our deepest longings, beyond what we can articulate. At Morning Prayer today we read Isaiah’s vision of one who would work an incredible reconciliation (Isaiah 11:1-10). But Isaiah imagines that ‘with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.’ – an idea born of Isaiah’s frustration and pain, and in contrast to the tradition of God’s breath breathing life. In fact, Jesus fulfils Isaiah’s deepest longing by giving up his breath, his spirit, into God’s hands and being assigned a grave with the wicked, that the wicked might live. Don’t be afraid to articulate your fear and anger before God, or worry that we are ourselves conflicted: he is big enough to take what we bring and use it by transforming it into a work of reconciliation far greater than we have yet known or can imagine.