Psalms 120–134 are known as Songs of Ascents, psalms sung by pilgrims on the way to the Temple in Jerusalem. Along the way, people sing their pain and praise. From the depths of despair, someone cries out. The people of Israel make the climb, singing their story of gratitude. So take note of these pilgrimage or climbing songs. In their verses we find sadness, crying, praise, gratitude, and security.
These people, although at times rebellious, know whom to seek in difficult times. In the early verses of this psalm, the writer states that in the depth of his despair he cries out to the Lord. He cries out, despite his iniquity, acknowledging God’s forgiveness. And he walks on.
The psalmist yells out from his soul: “Listen to me.” Perhaps after days or even years, he finally has the courage to ask God to listen. Not that God does not know his feelings, but he has never spoken so honestly to God as he does now.
Likewise, God knows our pain and what we have been through. To whom do we turn in difficult times? Do we bring to God our anguish and recognize our weakness? Maybe God awaits our cry from the depths of our being, thereby allowing God to work within us.
Father, sometimes we believe we can resolve all our burdens alone. How wrong we are when we don’t talk with you about what you already know! So often we lack the courage to acknowledge our flaws and our need for forgiveness. From the depths of our souls, we cry out to you. Hear our cry. Amen.
David is remembered in scripture as a mighty king but also as a great poet. Many of the Psalms are ascribed to him. In Second Samuel we find a poem, a song of lamentation over Saul and Jonathan. Saul was violently jealous of David, yet David still honored Saul as God’s anointed king. Jonathan was David’s best friend, and David bemoans Israel’s loss of these two leaders. The author of Psalm 130, although probably not David, appeals to God in David-like fashion. The Gospel reading takes us in a different direction, showing the power of a woman’s faith. In Second Corinthians, Paul deals with practical matters. The Corinthians had promised to send financial help to the believers in Jerusalem. Now that pledge needs to become a reality.
• Read 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27. When have you acknowledged, upon his or her death, the value of a person you deemed an enemy?
• Read Psalm 130. When have you cried out to God from the depths of your despair? What was God’s response?
• Read 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. When have you lost enthusiasm for a project that had originally ignited your interest and best efforts? How did you rekindle that interest?
• Read Mark 5:21-43. What has been your experience with God’s plans and timetable?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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