News and the Good News

A Psalm For The Week: March 29th

Psalm 130: For the week of March 29-April 3

‘Don’t waste this time!’ That’s one thing that I want to yell from the rooftop. Yelling doesn’t really help, though, does it? What I want to say is that while this is time of waiting—maybe waiting longer than we ever imagined—it’s doesn’t have to be a time that is wasted. Farmers know that when fields lay fallow for season an important process is going on.  While the fields are not productive above the ground as they normally are, below the ground there is a replenishment going on. Levels of carbon, nitrogen and organic matter rise. The ability of the field to hold moisture improves. Important microorganisms multiply—all of this so much so that even one year of a filed laying fallow produces a higher crop yield in the following year.

 

If we choose not to waste this time—and it is a choice—we might choose to make the Psalms a bigger part of our lives. We might learn to make them the mantras of our lives. That is what I have been saying these last two weeks. It’s nothing new. The Psalms have been spiritual sustenance for biblical people for thousands of years—and they were part of Jesus’ lifeblood, too. Are they a core part of your life? Have you memorized any portions of them? Have you turned to them when God has seemed distant or absent? Or when circumstances seem depressing or overwhelming? Or when one’s own soul is such a mess or so selfish or arrogant that one can’t stand one’s own company? Psalm 130 alludes to this feeling.

Like so many of the Psalms, the Psalm this week begins with a cry. Do you know the world is always crying . . .crying out in pain, in fear, for mercy, for help, over injustice or for justice—and crying out in other ways, too, including crying out in joy. And the Psalms are always crying, too. Psalm 130 begins like this: Out of the depths have I called out to thee, O Lord. Out of the depths. From a deep place. This is not someone who takes God or life trivially. The Psalmist is speaking from the core.  Life isn’t a game. Things matter. His religion, his faith, is not about outward show. And he doesn’t invoke God’s name trivially, or lightly. He’s not going through the motions. He needs help! And so he cries.

To whom does he cry? He cries to his maker. He cries to one who knows everything. But who is full of mercy. All-knowing and all-merciful. Verse 2 makes it clear that God sees who we are and all we do. All the verses that come next make it clear that God’s all-knowingness is not meant to condemn us. Far from it. From verse 3 on we hear ‘there is forgiveness with God (v3),’ and ‘there is hope with God (v4),’ ….’there is mercy with God (v6),’ and in a great crescendo of confidence ‘there is plenteous redemption’ that is abundant redemption with God.

Friends in Christ, don’t waste this time in your life. Become clear if you already aren’t about God. God knows you, the real you. Better than you know yourself. And God is eager to show you mercy, and me mercy, so that from our core, our deepest deep, we might live for God’s praise and glory.  

Here is the Psalm:

Psalm 130

1 Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice; *
let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.

2 If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss, *
O Lord, who could stand?

3 For there is forgiveness with you; *
therefore you shall be feared.

4 I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; *
in his word is my hope.

5 My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen for the morning, *
more than watchmen for the morning.

6 O Israel, wait for the Lord, *
for with the Lord there is mercy;

7 With him there is plenteous redemption, *
and he shall redeem Israel from all their sins.