Good morning all!
Today’s scripture: Psalm 39:1-7
1 I said, ‘I will guard my ways
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
as long as the wicked are in my presence.’
2 I was silent and still;
I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
3 my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 ‘Lord, let me know my end,
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath.
6 Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
they heap up, and do not know who will gather.
7 ‘And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you.
A sunny day in the Willamette Valley in March is a miraculous thing (thanks to Susan Dehm for the fab picture taken yesterday). When the sun comes out for just a little bit, people all of a sudden come out of the woodwork to enjoy it. We all re emerge from our homes and immediately run to our yards to take advantage of the few hours of vitamin D. We get out our sunglasses and become much more pleasant people. In February and March, when the sun appears, it seems like the world is ok and we can get through the gray. People get friendlier. We sit outside for a moment and act like this is totally natural. Some people even somehow manage to burn their skin! For a brief moment in time we think…hey, spring is coming and we have sun! Let’s grow stuff!
And then I woke up to this this morning….
Wet. Gray. Big raindrops and lots o water. This is what our spring sometimes looks like too. We wander back into our houses. We nestle in for a day full of water. We remember where our jackets are again (right where we left them just a few days ago). We put away the sunscreen and some of us put away the gardening tools (some are more hardcore than that). I must admit there is a piece of me that takes great comfort in the rain. There are moments when I love it. The water keeps our surroundings green (unlike the white some of you are getting today). I love walking in it at times and I know that the rain will benefit us.
But this morning for some reason it hit me hard that we woke up to gray. I looked out the window expecting to see the light that I saw yesterday and got back into bed for a minute when I saw the rain. Not that its bad…it just made me lament for a moment. Yesterday seemed so happy and new and today seemed well…like a Tuesday….not even half way through a busy week.
And then I opened the daily lectionary and saw that our Psalm was one of lament. The writer is lamenting life and his own dismal gray ness. He sings out hope in the end though, did you notice that? Even in the midst of despair, our writer knows that hope is in what God is doing in the midst of it. In silence and holding of the tongue, prayer seems to leak out. There are many of us in the world lamenting today. There are some in our midst who are dealing with disease…deep lament. There are many grieving the loss of a loved one….deep deep lament. There are many in our midst who are desperately trying to discern where God is calling them in life….mix of lament and hope. And there are so many other reasons to lament.
Allow yourself to lament at some point. Don’t brush over the lament with sunny days or false ideas of hope. For out of deep lament is where hope comes from. If we don’t lament, how can we be honest with God and with each other? And when the tears come, for surely they will, let them. A friend and colleague of mine told me the other day that the presence of tears is the presence of God. I thought this profound and moving and full of truth. When I have allowed my tears to come, in joy or lament, I know that God has been present. The presence of tears marks a presence of thin space. So don’t deny them. And when your lament has been voiced, that is where your community and hope will meet you.