Tuesday, May 5, 2020

I don't want to hear it!

Psalm 100 (NRSV)
A Psalm of thanksgiving.

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;    come into his presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord is God.    It is he that made us, and we are his;    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,    and his courts with praise.    Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good;    his steadfast love endures forever,    and his faithfulness to all generations.

When I read the opening lines of this psalm the first thing that popped into my head was, “What is to there to be so joyful about?”  After all, this is the 7th week that California has been under shelter in place orders.  The furthest I have been from my house since March 16th is the sidewalk in front of my house to put out the trash.  My hair is shaggy, my nails are a mess, and I really need a pedicure.  I miss my office, seeing my friends, and shopping for myself.  I miss worship services with everyone in the same room.  I am really tired of cooking for myself.  I want to go to a restaurant and have my meal served to me, and someone else wash the dishes.  (Why yes, thank you, I would like some cheese with that whine.) 

Most of the time I am pretty ok with being isolated.  I manage to find 10 things to be grateful for every day. (Coffee is always one of them!)  Most days I am motivated do all the things I need to do for the congregation and for myself.  But some mornings, like today, there just isn’t enough coffee in the world to motivate me.  So the whole joyful noise thing just wasn’t working.

Then I read all the way through to the end and thought, “Wow.  Now I finally understand why people used to tell me to read the Psalms when I was feeling out of sorts.”  In the past the happy ones were never helpful, but the lamenting and angry ones were. Job was my favorite for making me feel better about whatever situation I was in. 

Today I read these words:

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,  
and his faithfulness to all generations

and my morning changed in an instant.  I felt weight melting off my shoulders.  I felt a sense of peace and calm come over me. And I felt like singing - making a joyful noise in thanksgiving and praise to the One who loves even me.

Holy God, may your Word always speak to our hearts, even on days when we don’t really want to hear it.    Amen. 

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