Daily Dose, Sept. 10 — Singing the Blues

 

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Happy are those who make the LORD their trust,
who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us; can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required.
Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever.
For evils have encompassed me without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me, until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.
Let all those be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who desire my hurt.
Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God. (Psalm 40)

As many of you know, music is a big part of my life. Music was so important to me that I chose to study it for my undergraduate degree. I’ve enjoyed making music over the years, and I enjoy taking music in. For over 30 years, the band U2 have been a regular part of the soundtrack of my life. I was drawn to them because of their music, but also because of how their lyrics had a way of weaving together the various elements of life: joy, sadness, hope, exhaustion, energy, loss, despair and faith. I’ve seen them perform live several times, and one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had is being with 50,000 other people as we lift high the words found in Scripture.

One of my favorite U2 songs is simply called “40”, and it isn’t really even written by the band. It’s written by a man from a different era. You may be familiar with him. His name is David…as in, KING David from the Bible. The refrain that is sometimes repeated over and over at U2 concerts comes directly from the 40th Psalm, and the crowd echoes, “How long to sing this song?” In that moment, it doesn’t matter who you are. All that seems to matter is that we have a common experience: there are times when we struggle and we question and we ask God to show up…quickly! Concert experiences are usually a bit of a melting pot, but so is our life. So is Christian worship.

This Psalm encourages each of us to bring all of us to God! God already knows our struggles; nothing is a secret with God. The words also encourage us to hope and trust that God loves us too much to leave us in a pit of despair. “I waited patiently for the Lord. He inclined and heard my cry. He lifted me up out of the pit…out of the miry clay.” God knows the hardships that are common to our human experience, and God’s desire is to lift us through, up, and out of the mire. — Rev. Brad Greene