Bread – Friday

June 14, 2013

Readings for Friday, June 14, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: *; 2 Cor. 12:11-21; Luke 19:41-48; Psalms 69,73


TGIF – the acronym for “Thank God It’s Friday.” What is interesting is that many of the very people who use this phrase wouldn’t know God if He appeared before them. Others of us use this phrase as a throw-away, without realizing that if it is not truly from a heart of gratitude, the “Thank God” might well be an epithet and, as a result, a blasphemy against the God who saved us and provides for us.

Another interesting thing about this phrase is that we are apparently thanking God for getting us through the week to Friday. Why? Was our week not praiseworthy that we should be anxious for the next day? Of course, I ask the question tongue-in-cheek because we all suffer from the ups, downs, and sideways of daily life, and we are grateful to get to that portal to imagined rest called Friday. I say “imagined” because for many people, the weekend is no better than the work week.

In Psalm 69 from today’s reading, we have a look into what it means to have gratitude towards God at all times and in all circumstances. What is interesting in this Psalm is that David has many problems and he is asking God, “Why haven’t you done anything? Where are you?” But asking that, he basically tells God that he, David, is going to “buck up” and handle it. He then assumes the role of victim and blames other people for his misery, cursing them before God. I think his thinking is that, if God won’t help him, maybe God will punish someone whose hurting him. The Psalm ends with, apparently, no change in either David’s or his enemy’s condition, but with a change in David’s heart from self-pity to self-reliance to anger at others to praise for God’s provision and love.

Here it is (in part):

“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” [Ps. 69:1-3]

“Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress,; make haste to answer me.” [Ps. 69:16-17]

“I looked for pity, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.” [Ps. 69:20b]

“Let their own before them become a snare; … Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous.” [Ps. 69:22a,27-28]

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving…Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.” [Ps. 30,34]

Did God show up for David in this Psalm?

The obvious answer is “no,” because David was left in the waters, sinking in deep mire, with his enemies surrounding him. There is no evidence that his curses were granted by God. There is no evidence that God showed His face to David.

The less obvious answer is “yes.” Oh David was left in swamp of his life, all right, and his enemies kept on their terrible ways. Nothing appeared changed, except for one thing – David’s heart. His heart was changed from self-pity, to “help me,” to anger, to praise and thanksgiving. Who can make such a change in such circumstances?

“According to Your abundant mercy, turn to me.” Not according to my desires, demands, wishes, and prayers, but according to “Your” mercy, God’s mercy.

What is God’s mercy in our dire circumstances? Some people might believe that God’s mercy is delivering us from the week to Friday, which is why they say TGIF. However, isn’t God’s mercy a delivery “to” and not a delivery “from.” God in His mercy does not rescue us from daily life, but He equips us to handle it, He equips us to love in spite of the loveless, to praise in spite of misery, to live victoriously in the face of the worse circumstances.

For those who think God delivers from, then TGIF makes all the sense in the world. To those who find in their change of heart, their change of perspective, their change from self to Him and others, the delivery of God’s mercy into our life, then every day is a “Thank God” day.

So, is your motto “TGIF.” Or is it “TGFT,” “Thank God for Today?”


*The Old Testament reading assigned for today is from the Apocrypha, and it is therefore omitted.

© 2013 GBF

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