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Into Your Hand

My times are in your hand, deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. - Psalm 31:15 (NRSV)

 

I wonder if Jesus prayed Psalm 31 before his entry into Jerusalem. The Gospel of Luke says that next Friday, he prayed—or more accurately, cried—part of this psalm as he died on the cross: “Into your hand, I commend my spirit.” (Psalm 31:5) But I wonder if he prayed the whole psalm sometime this week before he rode into the big city.

 

As he drew closer to Jerusalem and the religious and political powers arrayed against him, the psalm’s lament would have echoed his own fear:

 

I hear the whispering of many – terror all around!—as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.

 

It also described the fate that awaited him as he continued to confront those powers:

 

I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors . . . I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.

 

So I wonder if Jesus prayed this psalm in the days leading up to Palm Sunday. I wonder, too, if it somehow gave him strength and even comfort—the psalmist’s lament reminding him that he, too, could pour out his terror and grief into God’s hands.

 

Perhaps once he’d named his fear, Jesus could also name his faith: “My times are in your hand.” Perhaps we can, too.

 

Prayer

Like the psalmist and like Jesus, may we pour our lives—our whole lives—into your hand. Amen.

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