Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Reflections - Psalm 130

Last week was a rough one. It seems like everyone I know is hurting, grieving, anxious, angry, and worried.  In the news last week, we learned of the children being separated from their parents seeking asylum here in the U.S.A. Here in Pittsburgh, an unarmed high school student was shot and killed while running from the police.  It's a lot to process - and the constant news coverage and social media can heighten our feelings of anxiousness and helplessness.

One of our scripture passages this week is Psalm 130  and I have found some comfort in reading this passage. Maybe you will, too. 

Read Psalm 130  (NRSV) 

Here is Psalm 130 from "The Message" translation: 
 1-2 Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
    Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
    Listen to my cries for mercy.
3-4 If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
    who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
    and that’s why you’re worshiped.
5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—
    and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
    waiting and watching till morning,
    waiting and watching till morning.
7-8 O Israel, wait and watch for God
    with God’s arrival comes love,
    with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,
    buy back Israel from captivity to sin

I love this Psalm because it starts out as an individual prayer - and then moves  It sounds like a prayer from someone who really needs God to hear them because they are crying from a deep place. I think we can think of a lot of people in our current times that are praying this way.  

According to my Bible commentary, this passage is part of a group of Psalms called Psalms of Ascents."  Worshipers would sing these songs as they prepared to enter the temple or on their way to the city for the Jewish festivals.  So, while it starts out as an individual prayer, the last two versus are a prayer from and for a community. 

This passage reminds me that God is neither keeping score of all of our sins nor like a genie in a bottle that grants us every wish.  The author of this Psalm talks about praying and waiting for God and I am reminded that actively praying and waiting is a powerful spiritual discipline.  

So here is what I have been thinking about this week:

We don't have to pray and wait alone. We can find comfort in dealing with and processing all that is going on in our world in community with others.  In our weekly bible study, Pastor Vincent reminded us that this is what Mary, the mother of Jesus, did when she learned the extraordinary news that she would become the mother to the Son of God.   The Gospel of Luke tells us that Mary, while pregnant and overwhelmed with all that was ahead of her, went to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was someone she loved and trusted and someone who could help her understand what was about to happen. 

Who can you go to when you are overwhelmed with the world around us?  Can you think of someone who can be your Elizabeth?

No comments:

Post a Comment