Friday, March 13, 2009


The psalms express the cry of the human soul; they lay bare the deep desires, fears, and contradictions of the human heart. Unlike the polished language and tidy ordering of our liturgical prayers, the psalms express the raw honesty needed for true spiritual transformation to occur. In a single psalm, we find emotions ranging from anger and rage on the one hand to praise and thanksgiving on the other. In fact, the psalms often give a glimpse of how the process of spiritual change actual happens – the movement from resentment to forgiveness, from fear to hope, from death to life.

This morning, we hear the cry of the psalmist, who feels overwhelmed by the fear and uncertainty he is experiencing in his life; “the waters have risen up to my neck…I am sinking in deep mire, and there is no firm ground for my feet” (Psalm 69:1-2). The beginning of this psalm vividly describes the psalmist’s anguish and anxiety; he literally feels as though he is drowning in the midst of the circumstances of his life. And yet, as the psalm develops, the mood changes and the psalmist begins to cry out for God’s mercy and compassion. Ultimately, as the psalm draws near its conclusion, we hear the psalmist exclaim, “I will praise the Name of God in song; I will proclaim his greatness with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:32). We journey with the psalmist from pain to petition to praise.

During those times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed by the stress and strain of life, it would serve us well to turn to the psalms, which encourage us to be honest with God and with ourselves. And as we open our hearts to God’s mercy and compassion, we find deep within our soul a song of praise and thanksgiving to our God!
Let the heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that moves in them!
Psalm 69:36

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