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Friday, June 26, 2020
Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 13
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.
But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me. (NRSV)
How long will you forget me, Lord? How long will love be denied? How long will hope be caged? How long will you deny me your presence? How long will I wrestle with the sorrow in my heart? How long will pain last for? How long must we endure?
This first part of the psalm captures the darkness of aloneness to me. It shows me that, psychologically speaking, when we can’t see our benevolent caretaker’s face, we instantly are ill at ease. This was proven in the Still Face Experiment. Being able to see God’s face would be a treasure, to know that you were close to God. I learn time and again when I am discerning what is the “right” next step, that God cares most that you are close to God—not specifically in what you choose. That you walk with God. Vaya con Dios—“Go with God.”
Next in the psalm, this fellow hurting human asks to have light given to their eyes so that they will not sleep in death. How beautiful to be given rose-colored glasses to see the world through God’s eyes! Sleep does feel like death at times. I recently watched with my anti-racism small group When They See Us, a filmabout the exoneration of the men known as the Central Park Five. I wondered if the men were free when they dreamed. How did they hold on to their sanity—especially when their foes have overcome them, especially when their foes rejoiced in their fall—in the follow-up interview, Oprah asks.
Which leads us to the last part of the psalm where the psalmist is weakly affirming that they still believe in God’s unfailing love, that the Lord has been good to them, that they trust in the salvation of my soul. The men in the film When They See Us spoke of believing in their lives after they got out, spoke of the light. And maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s like we say in Advent: it is a light in the night and the darkness cannot overcome it.
Dear Lord, please let us remember that you felt for us, you have felt sorrow, you have felt darkness, and remind us that you are the light that will help us overcome it. Amen.
Written by Jessica Wang, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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