Friday of the First Week of Lent
February 26, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 130, the De Profundis. This is a transformative prayer whose power we may not fully realize.
Have you ever been disappointed with God? Have you ever let God know it in your prayer?
Psalm 130 is the psalmist’s complaint to God that things are as bad as they can get and God doesn’t appear to care. It is a plea – even a demand- for God to pay attention and do something. (See my poem, sent a little later, called “These Things”.)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
But Psalm 130 is not just a private complaint. As well as being a penitential psalm, 130 is marked as a “Psalm of Ascent”. This means that it was sung by the community as they went to the Temple to worship.
Psalm 130 carries the tone of a national or global lament. It has the feeling of a deeply bruised people bearing a desperate hope mixed with some bewilderment. It is a feeling we all recognize.
Yesterday in my neighborhood, we had our first hint of spring weather. On a short walk, I met a few people whose winter-weary eyes, above their masks, held a spark of resurrection hope.
With distribution of COVID vaccines, hope for deliverance from the pandemic surfaces like a tentative bud. We are starting the slow ascent from the depths we have all shared. We are on our way to the temple of thanksgiving and praise.
But Psalm 130 reminds that, on that ascent, fully voicing our lament is imperative for true healing. In reference to the pandemic, and to any other devastation we face in life, we must be honest with God about our fear, confusion, sadness, hopelessness, and shaken faith … about our disappointment in God, our splintered expectations which need healing.
It is only by asking God how these things – whatever they might be – could be allowed to happen to us, or to any of God’s beloved, that we will open ourselves to the Divine answer – a mystery too deep for words.
I trust you, LORD;
my soul trusts in your word.
My soul waits for you
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let me wait for the LORD.
Such prayer heals, leading us to a deeper, truer relationship with God.
For with the LORD is kindness
and plenteous redemption;
And the Lord will redeem Israel
from all their suffering and sin.
Poetry: Spring – Mary Oliver
Somewhere a black bear has just risen from sleep and is staring down the mountain. All night in the brisk and shallow restlessness of early spring I think of her, her four black fists flicking the gravel, her tongue like a red fire touching the grass, the cold water. There is only one question: how to love this world. I think of her rising like a black and leafy ledge to sharpen her claws against the silence of the trees. Whatever else my life is with its poems and its music and its cities, it is also this dazzling darkness coming down the mountain, breathing and tasting; all day I think of her – her white teeth, her wordlessness, her perfect love.
Music: Pié Jesu – Michael Hoppé