Ep267_Psalm130. Out of the Depths.
Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 130 begins with the well-known phrase, “Out of the depths”. The psalm says:
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice,
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy (vv. 1-2).
Out of the depths I cry to the Lord. When I pray that phrase, I sometimes experience a sinking feeling in my stomach. A feeling that things have gone wrong again; this time, to the depths of my being. And I am unable to fix it.
Part of the poet’s genius is that he doesn’t describe the depths he was experiencing. He creates space for us to bring our depths to the psalm and to God. In the poet’s world, the deepest depth was the primeval sea of chaos that God conquered at creation. That ancient sea serves as metaphor and mirror for chaos in the poet’s personaI, national, and international experience. Maybe it works for us too, as we bring our modern depths to the ancient poem. Think about some of the things we might bring.
– We bring to the psalm the chaos of politics and wars, recently highlighted in America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
– We bring to the psalm the COVID chaos, a disease of the body that has inspired a disease of the mind with conspiracy theories about blame and control and loss of freedoms and microchips in vaccines.
– We bring to the psalm people hunkering down in survival mode as they and their friends grow old and forgetful and sick.
– We bring people who pray from depths of regret for past mistakes, whose present is filled with confusion, and whose future is bleak.
Gillian Welsh sang about the depths, saying:
There’s a world of trouble
trying to take its turn.
I can hear it shaking underground.
(David Rawlings and Gillian Welsh. Lyrics to “One and Only”. Revival, 1996.)
Out of the depths we cry to you O Lord. We have tried to organize and control our lives, to calm our troubled sea and ignore its black depths. But we sense, like Gillian Welsh, a world of trouble shaking underground. The monsters in our sea churn the waters. Unresolved troubles pull us under. Violence and war cause fear. Tension and disharmony sadden us.
O gracious Lord, walk with us. Lift us from the depths that confound us. Calm our troubled waters. Heal the diseases we cannot cure.
With the poet,
We wait for you, Lord,
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning (v. 6).
As we wait and watch through our dark night, we hear your promise of morning. We wait patiently for your help.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.
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