Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
I read an article not too long ago, I forget when and where, and at my age “not too long ago” might be 20 years. But it was about the therapeutic effects of singing the blues. The author pointed out that there is a distinct difference, in his opinion, between traditional blues and, say, the nihilistic kind of stuff that passes for music among many young people these days (and maybe for the past 200 years). The examples of actually “singin’ the blues” he used normally brought people’s expressions through a period of sadness, even a time of desperation, to a realization that we wouldn’t even be able to sing if all were lost. There’s an affirmation of hope, sometimes merely implied hope, but it’s still there. What’s the result? I’m singin’ the blues today, I may be singin’ the blues tomorrow, but I’ll still be singing because in the end I do have hope.
The question we need to ask, of course, is what kind of hope we have. I was speaking with someone recently who was fixated on needing to have hope, and the fact that she planned to find that hope in herself and her love for herself. As much as she allowed me, I encouraged her that love for yourself is identified in the Bible as a problem, but that maybe having a healthy respect for your innate dignity is a good thing. She consistently returned to needing to love herself more. Why was she troubled?
We are not trustworthy. Within me there is nothing that I can depend on or hope in. I need to look outside of myself, as the Psalmist does in Psalm 143. Everything has fallen apart. I’m in desperate straits. I remember God’s works, not my works. I reach out my hands and, wonder of wonders, I realize that the Lord my savior is already holding my hands. I’m afraid of falling. But God is holding me up and is there right under me as a firm foundation. I can’t see God in my troubles. He turns on the light, He is the light of the world. It’s the brightness of his presence that hides him.
When we are distressed, like the Psalmist, we look to the Lord. And we can take courage from the fact that he looks to the Lord again and again and again in this Psalm. We also can realize that we are singing the blues today and that we will likely sing them many more times. But who is the hope? It is the Lord of all creation, the triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Blessed be His name.
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