Lesley Shatwell reflects on the Psalms in these difficult times:
I had a conversation with someone a while back now who claimed that the Psalms were irrelevant to our modern lives. Well, that was a challenge, because I love the Psalms and always find something within them which matches my current mood and which might point a way forwards. And contained in just one Psalm, I found my whole world captured by some unknown poet of antiquity from half way round the other side of the world.
1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13: 1-2)
And surely to goodness as I write this, the whole world is looking for a way forwards. It is as though all our lives are being placed on hold without even a glimpse of a more hopeful future. Uncertainty is all around us, even on the brightest of sunny spring mornings when we are cooped up in isolation.
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall. (Psalm 13: 3-4)
So we find ourselves in that permanent state of limbo: frightened, waiting and hoping our friends and loved ones will be well, hoping that there will be a bright new future when all our sorrows are long forgotten and we can live in the kind of world where everything is made new
and glorious for all people …… oh …
THY KINGDOM COME
and roll on the day!
We look for the green shoots of recovery for the whole world, perhaps longing to go back to the old days to live in that world which we may never have appreciated at the time. We can never go back.
But I see the kindness of others, going that extra mile to help; those serving in the NHS, those caring for our elderly, those seeing that we have enough food to eat and so many, many more. There are the extra efforts which people are making to keep in touch, a phone call to someone who is stuck indoors and lonely, perhaps sharing a musical live stream over the internet. People who make us laugh and restore our spirits.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.
Yes, if you call me old-fashioned because I love the Psalms, then may I also claim the joy which I find in seeing God’s love through these poems as I watch the new spring growth and see the kindness of strangers.
May God bless you all in these difficult times.