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Praying the dangerous ones

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Psalm 22
When I was learning to preach, and I would come to a text and not be able to figure out my way in, Andy was learning to be a theologian, and he would prompt me to ask a particular question of the scripture. This question, he would remind me, would surely reorient me out of whatever rabbit hole I had gone down trying to figure out what to say, and return me to the purpose of the sermon, and the bible itself.   The question is: Who is this God? And what is God up to here?  (Two questions, really, but he’s always struggled with run-on sentences, so we're going to go with them as one).
This question has shaped my faith more than any other.  I’ve found that it opens every scripture passage, because surely every single part of the bible is trying to say something about who God is, and trying to show something about what God does.  Whether it is a historical accounting of an ancient battle, a graphic love song, a miracle of Jesus, a letter of Paul, or apocalyptic poetry, the reason…