We are in Lent, traditionally a time of self examination and fasting. Many take on a discipline of doing without during Lent. Some take on additional service. With only minor clarifications, the pandemic has imposed a Lenten experience on all of us. We have been doing without for a long season.
Let us find a way to use this time, not to get lost in the difficulty of the journey, but to become enlivened in the hope of the destination! In just this fashion, the Psalms of Ascent came to have their being! Words of the songs, or Psalms from 120-134, comforted our faithful forbears when they returned from exile to their beloved home of Jerusalem, up to Mount Zion.
Psalm 123 is a supplication to God for mercy, for deliverance from our enemies. Lent is a good time to explore who or, perhaps better, what our enemies are. There is a lot of depth in this short Psalm. It is in our human and animal natures to seek distance from our foes and comfort in our homes—whether places earthly, heavenly, tribal or even more figurative. Our rescue, Cooper, too was a wanderer without a home. Today he has a place to lay his head and relax in the comfort of his Creator, the One who brought even a Lab mutt into the safety and love of God. We all will get there. Thanks be to God!
Song of Ascents
1 To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he has mercy upon us.
3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than its fill of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
Narrative and photo © 2021 Stephanie Shareck Werner