Today’s Psalter: Psalm 130 (Lent 5A)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
The Psalmist writes from the deepest bowels of life. It is his or her lowest point, feeling so overwhelmed with despair, almost hopeless. And yet, there, is the sound of the still small voice. It’s only a whisper but it is there. The Psalmist strains to hear, laying there in the darkness, unable to sleep, unable to see the light of the morning. It is a Psalm of faith. It is the expression of one who though wallowing in the depths of sadness and despair, cannot feel God’s Presence and, yet, knows in the deepest part of his or her being that God is there. It is the writing of one who knows that there is always morning, if we will only wait.
The words of the Psalm promise us that no matter how dark the night will be, there is always morning. There is always redemption. The King James Version depicts it as “plenteous redemption”. We often hear of redemption as if it is some sort of payment that God required for our sins, as if Jesus’ death was somehow foreordained because we were such sinful creatures that God could take it no more. But redemption also means restoration, to bring something to a better state. It is what the Psalmist knows. God is there, though unseen, restoring, recreating, even in this moment of darkness. Redemption is not about payment; it is about the promise of morning, the promise of life. Redemption is not about what Jesus gave us or what Jesus did for us but what God in Christ does even now. God brings morning.
The Psalm does not give us empty promises that “everything will be alright”. Rather, it is honest. Sometimes life hurts. Sometimes life hurts more than we think we can bear. Sometimes we have our own dark night of the soul. But in the darkness, we learn to wait. We learn to hope. That is what Lent is–a waiting in the depths. We are journeying now deeper and deeper into the darkness. We know that it will be painful, at times even unbearable. But our faith tells us that God is present whether or not we can feel the presence. And so we learn to wait. We wait through pain and betrayal and last nights together. We wait through darkness and death. We wait in the stillness and foreboding silence. We wait because we know that morning always comes.
Bidden or unbidden, God is present. (Desiderius Erasmus, 1466-1536, Also attributed to Carl Jung, because the quote was posted above his door in his house in Switzerland.)
“Out of the Depths”, John Rutter, “Requiem”
On this 5th Sunday of Lent, claim your own depths. Imagine what your own recreation looks like.
Grace and Peace,
I have posted a reflection on the Stations of the Cross as a “page” on the blog. If you go to dancingtogod.com and click on it at the top, you can view it.