Weeping may linger for the night but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30 sings some of our favorite phrases of hope and redemption.
You have turned my mourning into dancing.
In our Living in The Story readings, this psalm is coupled with the story of Job and seems to echo his experience. Job’s prosperity was plunged into a lengthy devastation before he was restored to well being.
Job and Psalm 30 demonstrate the paradigm Walter Brueggemann articulates when he describes states of Orientation, Disorientation and New Orientation. This is our human experience, Brueggemann believes, and The Psalms (and the characters in Job) speak to those back and forth, up and down cycles of confidence and confusion.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain.
You hid your face;
I was dismayed.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
Here is the cosmic story of resurrection:
Life. Death. New Life.
But note how this psalmist confesses a common human hubris: “I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved.” Isn’t that a typical mistake all of us are tempted to? When things are going well, we take the goodness for granted. We forget to live in gratitude. We forget that every day, every breath is a grace.
I have a counselor friend who taught me: Everyone is somewhere on this line —– Either in the midst of a crisis. Or just getting over a crisis. Or unaware that a crisis is just around the corner.
This is life. This is our normal cycle. Life has always included death, tragedy and trauma.
Many people will experience a natural movement through these cycles into and out of crisis and confusion. But people of faith hold a bigger picture, a paradigm of meaning that allows us to stand with both confidence and humility.
People of faith give credit to God: thanks when things are going well, hope when things are not going well, and praise when things open up into new possibilities.
This doesn’t have to mean we understand God moves us around like chess pieces, but rather that – in some cosmic mystery – the Creator holds everything together and is always working for goodness and wholeness.
You have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
Read more about Walter Brueggemann’s paradigm of Orientation/DisorientationNew Orientation in Charlotte’s blog on Psalm 22.
Charlotte’s blog for Week 24: Job A Faithful Gentile