I was very struck yesterday by one of the psalms set for evening prayer- Psalm 13. It’s only six verses long, so I’m reposting it here:
1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I bear pain] in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4 and my enemy will say, ‘I have prevailed’;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
So much of what we feel at the moment- lament, confusion, fear, hope, seem to be expressed in the Psalms. If you’ve never tried reading them or praying with them before, do look through them. They really are an amazing golden thread running through the tapestry of our scriptures. We know Jesus himself prayed with the psalms- as he used words from the twenty second Psalm when he was on the cross “M y God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
In terrible times of war, exile and loss, the people of God, for thousands of years, have turned to God and cried out- but not simply in pain. As we seek to name God’s work in our lives we have also always cried out in trust and hope and celebration. On Thursday evening, as we all went outside with pots and pans and shouting and clapping to applaud and thank our NHS workers and carers, it felt to me that we were reconnecting with that custom.We do not and should not deny our pain, or pretend that everything in the garden is rosy, but we assert our hope and we name our blessings.
Let’s keep our eyes on that hope, let’s keep reminding ourselves and one another of all that we have to give thanks for, and let’s keep praising God.