Lent Devotions: Looking for a word of freedom

Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World.

Editor’s note: This Lent season, Bread Blog is running a series of devotionals written by staff, alumni, and friends of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

By Min-Hee Kim 

Psalm 32

In this Lenten season, I am reminded of the One who walked in silence, struggling with this question: Am I really the one who can liberate the people from worldly restraint? This year, I encounter that One in and with Psalm 32.

On the Cross at the very last moment in his life — even though the people had given up any expectation to be free — the One might still have looked forward to proclaiming freedom to the people like the Psalmist: “Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Happy are those to whom God imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!” (Psalm 32:1-2)

But nothing happened, except what those who held power over the people had intended. It seems that nothing was heard from God, while the One shouted out, saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:16). He cried out in a tough shout as his last word after pleading desperately for God’s response. (Matthew 27:50)

Jesus shouted out in suffering from being without God. And God was silent.

After water and sap was completely poured out from his body, God’s word was finally revealed through the body risen for the people. God responded to the One with silence. God responded to the people through Jesus Christ. Jesus himself became the Word from God for a people suffering from being without God. God responded to the people with the beloved’s tough shouting.

This allows me to become open to the very One whose voice cried out in suffering from being without God. Many voices today are still heard in torment. In my context in Korea, God seems to be silent before the Sewol ferry victims’ shouting for the truth of the tragedy, the comfort women’s suffering against militarized violence, and children abused without any protection. The Lenten season invites me into a really deep night listening to the Word inscribed with silence from God, struggling with a question: Can the written word really save people from worldly restraint?

“Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in God. Be glad in God and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:10-11)

May the Word be with and upon all those who are suffering.

Min-Hee Kim is a 2015 Master of Divinity graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary.

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