Year B - Pentecost +5 or Energy to Witness 5
June 28, 2015
I trust you have connected with this psalm is four human ways:
- Jairus - on behalf of another
- Woman - on behalf of one’s self
- Daughter - in silence, unknown, inarticulate
- Yourself - (your cry hear)
The first 6 verses are the specific needs and connections we have to live our life more fully—in community, health, awareness, and any other quality of fullness. For those in the Wesleyan tradition, it is helpful to remember key words here—depths, cry, there is forgiveness, watch for the morning, steadfast love, redeem—as we hear John Wesley report he heard a choir singing this psalm just hours before he felt his “heart strangely warmed” at Aldersgate.
The last 2 verses are universalized from the individual to the community. Of particular note is a note from The Jewish Study Bible, “Sinners or their descendants normally need to be punished (see Exod. 34.7), but here God redeems, that is forgives, so no one is punished. As in many psalms, the personal becomes the communal.” Likewise, The New Community Bible describes this psalm: “It is a deep-throated cry for forgiveness and survival.”
A reason for attending to the literal in scripture is for words such as this to be carried along and available to individuals in a particular time of need that goes beyond hope. We also need to attend to the metaphoric in scripture to know that limiting the communal to an extension of our personal desires and experience is far too small a way to live—each of our lives is a shard of our community and an entry point of the energy of conversion and anchoring of a preferred future in a wobbly present.