[NOTE: We’ll return to our Mondays-only format next week.]
I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? – Psalm 121
If you need an infusion of hope, re-read Psalm 121. It recalls us from narrowly focusing on whatever it is we need an infusion for. Looking at the big picture—“toward the mountains”—helps us put things in perspective. New areas of gratitude. New sources of strength.
Probably when this psalm was sung in worship in ancient Israel, it was sung responsively. The leader would sing a verse, the congregation would respond, and so forth. Just the back and forth singing would be inspiring in itself.
With this in mind, what would Psalm 121 sound like if it were rewritten as a song sung back and forth with Jesus? It might go something like this:
“Jesus, I’m afraid I’m going to fail.”
“I love you, regardless.”
“I’m afraid I’m going to lose all I’ve worked for.”
“I will abundantly provide, and give you treasure that can’t be taken away.”
“I’m lonely and confused, and no one seems to understand.”
“I give you friends and angels.”
“I’m struggling in my faith.”
“I give you strength for the struggle, and you’ll grow through it.”
“I’m concerned about the craziness of our world.”
“I have overcome the world, and you will, too.”
“I’m afraid to die.”
“I will make you live.”
As Christians, we believe the unbelievable: an itinerant, charismatic preacher in 1st century Palestine has such a special relationship with an invisible God that he survived a cruel death. What’s more, in a way that defies logic, he’s present today, as close as breath is to body.
If we really believe that, could we take time to imagine what a psalm-like song to him might sound like?
Maybe the crazy period of “social distancing” forces us to be a song writer. When we are distanced from our normal slate of activities and gatherings, can part of our changed time be moving more slowly, silently, reflectively? Can we be better attuned to that small voice of God inside us? Can we verbalize our deepest feelings in a prayer-song, and imagine how he would respond?
Eventually we’ll return to our normal social interactions. When we do, thanks to our songwriting, maybe those interactions will take on even more special meaning.
May our song express the hope in our hearts, the hope waiting to be expressed. In the lyrics we may feel our eyes lifting up, and we may see, truly, where our help comes from.