Lent Daybook, 12: A man like a tottering wall

A Lent daybook for these 40 days of prayer. Join me, won't you?  (see previous Lent daybook 2018 posts here)

Is this your first time to practice Lent?  Here's a simple introduction: How we prepare for Lent.

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*

   Still life paintings of stacks of Chinese porcelain by Erkin ( source )


Still life paintings of stacks of Chinese porcelain by Erkin (source)

music for today: "Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 / Credo: Et incarnatus est", Johann Sebastian Bach, John Eliot Gardiner, The Monteverdi Choir


The virgin birth, "Et incarnatus est" (And was incarnate), is a five-part movement. It is probably Bach's last vocal composition, dating from the end of 1749 or the first weeks of 1750. Until then, the text had been included in the preceding duet. The late separate setting of the words which had been given special attention by previous composers of the mass established the symmetry of the Credo. The humiliation of God, born as a man, is illustrated by the violins in a pattern of one measure that descends and then combines the symbol of the cross and sighing motifs, alluding to the crucifixion. The voices sing a motif of descending triads. They enter in imitation starting in measure 4, one voice every measure in the sequence alto, soprano II, soprano I, tenor, bass, forming a rich texture. The text "ex Maria vergine" (out of the virgin Mary) appears in an upward movement, "et homo factus est" (and made man) is even in upward triads


And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land....

Send one of you, and let him bring your brother, while you remain confined, that your words may be tested, whether there is truth in you. Or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies.” And he put them all together in custody for three days.”


For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah

...Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.”


”Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”


”and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
— Genesis 42:7-9, 15-16 * Psalm 62:1-4,10-12 * 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 * Mark 3:19 (ESV)

* Monday - Thursday Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2). On Fridays I'll post the Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday which are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B).

prayer for today from Evening Prayers For Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt :

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for this day and for all the loving kindness you pour out on us. May we continue to receive your help and your protection. Bless us in whatever we are allowed to do in your service, that it may always be done in love to all people. Watch over us this night and be with us. May your will be done throughout the world, so that at last all confusion may come to an end, Satan’s work may be destroyed, and your children may shout for joy that your will is being done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
— Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt



Spiritual practice for today:

Today, if you are physically able, find a place where you can kneel for ten minutes without interruption. During this time, your knees will ache and you will most likely feel tension in your body because of the unfamiliar position you are holding. Try to ignore any physical signs of discomfort and simply focus on quieting your mind Recite Psalm 27:14: I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (source: Simplifying the Soul)

May I also recommend an Lent-themed essay I wrote for Plough last week? Palms of Rejoicing, Ashes of Sorrow

(see all Lent daybook posts from 2017 here)