(Originally posted on tvprays.org)
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8 It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
My adrenaline has carried me through the past two weeks, for the most part. But in the last few days, certain pieces of music have led me to weep, not cry, but weep. It is hard to say exactly why I am crying, but I have decided to not, for once, overanalyze. Instead I am letting the feelings come.
I grieve for people who have died. I mourn for friends who have lost jobs or whose job searches have become more difficult because of the pandemic. I worry about people experiencing homelessness and how they will be kept safe. I grieve the list of cancelled gatherings, which keeps growing. All of them were chances to learn new things, meet new people, and have new adventures. I grieve not seeing so many people I love in person. I enjoy the time alone, but I miss hugs and human touch given by parishioners and my circle of friends
Each time a have a big long cry it really does feel like it’s coming “out of the depths,” as the psalmist says. Does the Lord hear our voices? We trust that it is true, even when the Lord feels far away. And we wait for the Lord; how honest that feels to me in some moments. I wait for the Lord to intervene, to protect, to heal, to comfort, to give wisdom and guidance and rest.
Whenever I pray a lament psalm, I am thankful for the turn the psalmist makes. I am not sure I could make the turn on my own. Lament is rarely siloed. It is accompanied by acts of remembrance like, “For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.” The Lord has loved, redeemed, and delivered Israel in the past and psalmist trusts that God will stay true to God’s character. Hope remains because we also can trust God’s character to remain steadfast.
I do not mean to make this a simple linear journey: lament, remembrance, hope. It is cyclical and, depending on the person, the cycle may run several times within an hour. But for me there is comfort in not being the first or the last person who needs to cry out to God. I will not stay in lament but some time there is truthful. Lament was a part of our tradition, long before the current pandemic. Perhaps this will be a time to reclaim it individually and communally.
Lord Christ, you came into the world as one of us, and suffered as we do. As we go through the trials of life, help us to realize that you are with us at all times and in all things; that we have no secrets from you; and that your loving grace enfolds us for eternity. In the security of your embrace we pray. Amen. (ELW p. 84)