Psalm 1 (TLB)
“O the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a river bank…bearing luscious fruit…”
Psalm 73:26a (TLB)
“My health fails, my spirits droop, yet God remains!”
A Psalm of 2020-22: Merciful God, why is this pandemic continuing? When can we freely roam, work, and go to school? Only frowns are visible with masks—no smiles. We praise you for surrounding us with natural beauty, bird songs, even cicadas, to enjoy while we wait to sing, cheer, hug, travel. But hearts break when loved ones are confined without visitors, some even dying alone with funerals postponed. We pray and pray but, like Job, hear no clear voice from heaven—only confusing CDC news.
The lament relates not to physical suffering, but to emotional wellbeing, the feelings that can lead to depression, loneliness, suicide—our spirituality—when we can’t honestly sing “It is Well With My Soul!”
When power was out for almost 24 hours in January, I was feeling sorry for myself until I heard about people stranded in their cars on I95. My attitude became gratitude for a battery radio, blankets, and the beauty of the silent white flakes…white snow vs. white noise. I recalled the joy of sledding on our farm. Somehow dragging the sled uphill never seemed a chore…always anticipating the next ride down! Like how we appreciate sunshine most after a rainy day.
“It’s easy enough to be pleasant when everything goes like a song, but the man (or woman) worthwhile is the one who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.” Robert Savage, Life Lessons.
Prayer (in John Greenleaf Whittier’s words, 1872)
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind. In purer lives thy service find, in deeper reverence, praise.
Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace. Amen.