Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Psalm 22: 1-10, 22-24

Lent, a time of self-examination and penitence, can unfortunately lead to an extreme of self-loathing, as we see our faults in the perfect light of God’s holiness. There are, sadly, many people who have low self-esteem. I, often, am one of them. Verse 6 in this Psalm is something I could often say about myself:

‘But I am a worm, not a man.’

The worm, as an image of something lowly, beneath contempt, undeserving of love or affection, is something that appealed to the 18th Century mind of Charles Wesley. It’s an image that appears in more than one of his hymns:

In age and feebleness extreme,
Who shall a sinful worm redeem?
Jesus, my only hope Thou art
Strength of my failing flesh and heart,
O could I catch a smile from Thee,
And drop into eternity.

The point is, of course, that however lowly, unlovely or useless we may feel ourselves, however much we may feel we do not deserve the love of anyone, far less that of God, his grace is great than our self-loathing; his love is greater than anything.

So I pray, with Wesley, that:

Spirit of faith, inspire my consecrated heart;
Fill me with pure, celestial fire, with all thou hast, and art;
My feeble mind transform, and, perfectly renewed,
Into a saint exalt a worm, a worm exalt to God!