Read | Psalm 30
I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Respond | Tom Dearduff
My first thought when reading this emotional expression of redemption was, “I cannot wait to reread this psalm when all of this sheltering in place is over.” I assumed a posture of weeping-in-the-night, even though rejoicing comes in the morning. Maybe you share that posture with me.
But what if we reread this psalm now, while our sheltering in place persists? What if we refuse to see our lives in black and white—as either absolute weeping or absolute rejoicing—and choose to see both the difficulty and delight that today may bring? What if we admit to the challenges we face now alongside the hope we have for tomorrow? It would be wrong to deny our present pain. But it would also be wrong to deny that we are a resilient people with Good News that ought to be shared. With so much insecurity and ambiguity defining the world in which we live, let us cling to the promise that God may turn our wailing into dancing, and our sackcloth into clothes of joy.
When we join the psalmist in song, let us own the tinge of hesitation or grief in our voices. Let us not pretend merriment. But let us sing nonetheless, for nothing is gained when we are silenced. God wants all of us, even—if not especially—now. Sing what you can, what your heart wills. God will hear your song and take delight in you. Holy Spirit, fill our lungs with air and our mouths with words we cannot contain. Listen as we sing our vulnerability out to you. Amen.