Psalm 30

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 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.

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? When things are going well, we take the goodness for granted and forget to live in gratitude.

We forget that every day, every breath is a grace.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

You brought up my soul from Sheol and restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Here is the cosmic story of resurrection:
Life.
Death.
New Life.

I have a counselor friend who taught me: Everyone is somewhere in a spectrum. We are either in the midst of a crisis, or just getting over a crisis, or unaware that a crisis is just around the corner.

Crisis is part of our normal cycle.

Life has always included death, tragedy and trauma and most people experience movement through all these cycles.

As do people of faith, except we have opportunity to perceive a bigger picture, a paradigm of meaning that allows us to stand firm 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 mean that God moves humans about like chess pieces.

Rather – in the cosmic mystery – we believe that the Creator holds everything together and is always working for goodness and wholeness. Even when the normal human cycles bring crisis and confusion, people of faith trust that Spirit constantly breathes hope and new possibilities.

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 Vaughan Coyle

Author: Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte lives and blogs in Paris TX. She is ordained within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and developed Living in The Story while doing doctoral work at Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth. Charlotte also blogs about intersections of faith, politics and culture at CharlotteVaughanCoyle.com.

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