Psalm 30: from the Nether World

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

March 15, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 30, a perfect prayer for where we find ourselves in the course of the pandemic.

Psalm 30 is a song of thanksgiving. It names the dreadful things from which the psalmist is grateful to have been delivered.

I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
    and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the nether world;
    you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.

Psalm 30: 3-4

When we read the entire psalm,
we meet someone who remembers having a very pleasant life
—- moving along, perhaps, in joyful oblivion.

Then “BOOM!”

Complacent, I once said,
“I shall never be shaken.”
LORD, you showed me favor,
established for me mountains of virtue.
But when you hid your face
I was struck with terror.

Psalm 30: 8-9

I think a lot of us felt some similar emotions last March. How about you?

And the psalmist, again like many of us, begged God for help:

Hear, O LORD, have mercy on me;
LORD, be my helper.

Now, it feels that deliverance has come, It is time to remember deeply and to give thanks. Like the psalmist, we benefit from reflecting on our experience, folding it into our depths, and coming into deeper relationship with God. What has happened to us and our global community will, and should, change us. We pray that it may make us closer to God and one one another.

You changed my mourning into dancing;
you took off my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness.
So that my glory may praise you
and not be silent.
O LORD, my God,
forever will I give you thanks.

Psalm 30: 13-14

Poetry: Passing away, Saith the World by CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Passing away, saith the World, passing away: 
Chances, beauty and youth, sapp'd day by day: 
Thy life never continueth in one stay. 
Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey 
That hath won neither laurel nor bay? 
I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May: 
Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay 
On my bosom for aye. 
Then I answer'd: Yea.

Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away: 
With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play, 
Hearken what the past doth witness and say: 
Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array, 
A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay. 
At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day 
Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay: 
Watch thou and pray. 
Then I answer'd: Yea.
Passing away, saith my God, passing away: 
Winter passeth after the long delay: 
New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray, 
Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven's May. 
Though I tarry, wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray. 
Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day, 
My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say. 
Then I answer'd: Yea. 

Music: Mourning into Dancing – Bowling Family

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