Psalm 70

Help!

It is said that there are four short great prayers which everyone should have at their disposal. They are: please, help, sorry and thank you. The beginning of the psalm I’m looking at here could be summarised as “Help!” and the end as “Hurry up!”. There is an urgency about this prayer and I guess that is one reason why this psalm is one of the shorter ones – just five verses.

It also seems to me that Psalm 70 fits in with this week in the Church’s calendar. The week began with Palm Sunday and remembering Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. We then follow Jesus through the days and events that lead to his  crucifixion; and then we celebrate his resurrection at Easter. At this point of the journey, Jesus is in Jerusalem with his friends and followers. He is aware, much more acutely than them, that things are coming to a head and that he will be presented with “the cup of suffering” to drink. Jesus is no masochist nor is he a fatalist. He has a choice but the consequences for him will be dire: he will suffer and die. Before Easter, there is Good Friday; before resurrection there is the cross. Surely Jesus would ask for God’s help and with some urgency to put it mildly. No matter what he knew or expected to happen afterwards, the prospects for that week would make anyone turn to God for help.

I would not press psalm 70 too far or try to put words into Jesus’ mouth. I do suggest that it is OK to ask God for help and, if the situation warrants it, to ask him to hurry up.

A prayer from “Common Worship”

True and humble king, hailed by the crowd as Messiah. Grant us the faith to know you and love you, that we may be found beside you on the way of the cross, which is the path of glory. Amen. (Additional Collect, Palm Sunday)

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