Northfield

United Methodist Parish

Sunday, June 28, 2020 – Psalm 13 Meditation

Sunday, June 28, 2020 – Psalm 13 Meditation

Psalm 13 (NRSV)
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?

Our cry goes up: “have you forgotten us God? Have you forgotten me?   Why haven’t you answered my prayers?”

Do you have prayers that don’t seem to have been answered? How’s your patience holding up? Does God feel distant to you?

Sometimes the pain and sorrow in our hearts is from the circumstance we lift to God in prayer, and sometimes it is from a feeling that God hasn’t heard us pray.

O God, hear our prayers.

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

We don’t like to think that we have “enemies” and probably are uncomfortable thinking that an enemy would gloat over us.

Who or what might an enemy be for you that might be happy to see you in distress? Perhaps an internal voice or nagging, some anxiety or fear?  “I told you so… ” “You aren’t _____ enough…”

But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

There seems to be a break in the time between the previous section and this section of the psalm.

The psalmist says he or she trusted – past tense. Perhaps the prayer has been answered, or perhaps the psalmist is remembering how God has answered prayer in the past and this is a statement of faith and confidence that God will answer again.

What song or words of praise come to you when you think of God’s love for you?

My life flows on in endless song, above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the clear, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?
How Can I Keep from Singing, Robert Lowry v1

Begin again with the psalm, but this time, have in mind a person or family, a place, or even the whole world that has been affected by the coronavirus.  Think COVID-19 in the place of enemy:

PSALM 13 (Jerusalem Bible)
How much longer will you forget me Yahweh? For ever?
How much longer will you hide your face from me?
How much longer must I endure grief in my soul,
and sorrow in my heart by day and by night?
How much longer must my enemy have the upper hand of me?
Look and answer me, Yahweh, my God!
Give my eyes light, or I shall sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, ‘I have beaten him’,
and my oppressors have the joy of seeing me stumble.
But I for my part rely on your love, Yahweh;
let my heart rejoice in your saving help.
Let me sing to Yahweh for the goodness shown to me.

Will COVID-19 exalt over us forever? Will it keep winning? When will it end?  We are being shaken by it all over the world. It is almost as if it is gloating as it resurges.

Consider and answer us, O God!

But let us remember again how God sustains us and heals us and “deals bountifully” with us. Let us remember again God’s love for us and how the virus is not what God intends.

Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?
How Can I Keep from Singing, Robert Lowry v2

Let’s pray the psalm again. This time have in mind a person who suffers because of racism.

Psalm 13 paraphrased by Evie Doyon
How long O Lord will I feel forgotten by you? Forever??
How long until I sense the light of your love?
How long will I carry such unrelenting sadness in the depth of my being?
How long will this oppression seem to be winning?
O God, are you listening? Please answer me!
Let the light of your love shine in me or I’m done for,
and the oppression will gloat;
my fears will delight in getting the better of me.
But your steadfast love has come through time after time;
Your saving grace will bring me joy again.
I will sing to you for your prolific love toward me.

Will we ever overcome the sin of racism? Will its oppression ever cease? People are suffering while others seem not to care.

O God, shine your light into the darkness of our lives, bring to light that which is not in line with the way you intend us to live in your kin-dom. Help us hear the laments of others and find ways to respond. Your prolific, bountiful love is for each person and not just me. Forgive us when we seem not to care. May your love break through and turn us around so we may sing your praises together. Amen.

What though my joys and comforts die? I know my Savior liveth.
What though the darkness gather round? Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing!
All things are mine since I am his! How can I keep from singing?
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?

How Can I Keep from Singing, Robert Lowry v3 & 4

~ Evie Doyon, June 2020