"Gracanica" Serbian Orthodox Church

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ANTICIPATING THE PENTECOST DURING THE PANDEMIC

Posted on November 25, 2020 at 11:45 PM

Psalms of hope during the Pandemic

 

In Psalm 41 we see that it is written by someone who has experienced the presence of God in the Temple in Jerusalem; he remembers the excitement of being close to God through His temple, and it creates a deep ache and a sense of loss because he is not there any more:

 

Psalm 41 (42)

 

As the deer longs for the springs of waters,

 

So my soul longs for You, O God.

 

3 My soul thirsts for the living God;

 

When shall I come and appear before the face of God?

 

4 My tears w ere m y bread day and night,

 

When they said to m e each day, “Where is y our God?”

 

5 I remembered these things, and poured out m y soul within me;

 

For I shall enter the place of the wondrous tabernacle, even the house of God,

 

To celebrate a festival with a voice of great joy and praise.

 

6 Why are you so sad, O my soul? And why do you trouble me?



 

Hope in God, for I will give thanks to Him;

 

My God is the salvation of my countenance.

 

We see that the writer is deeply depressed, but not despaired. The writer is thirsty for God, like a deer in the desert; he finds himself in tears twenty four hours a day; his memory of happier times makes him more sad, but also want God more. But, what the writer of the Psalm does is, he is engaging in an inner dialogue, in a prayer, and by doing that he is growing stronger: Why are you so sad, o my soul? Hope in God, for I will give thanks to Him.

 

Then, he remembers what it was being in the presence of God, or rather, he puts himself in the presence of God:

 

 

 

7 My soul within me was troubled;

 

Therefore I will remember You

 

From the land of the Jordan and Hermon,

 

From the small mountain.

 

8 Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;

 

All Your waves and billows went over me.

 

9 By day the Lord shall command His mercy,

 

And by night His ode will be with me,

 

A prayer to the God of my life.

 

10 I will say to God, “You are my protector. Why have You forgotten me?

 

Why do I go about with a sad face w hen m y enemies afflict me?”

 

11 Those w ho afflict me revile me when they break my bones,

 

When they speak to me each day, saying, “Where is y our God?”

 

12 Why are you so sad, O my soul? And why do you trouble me?

 

Hope in God, for I will give thanks to Him.

 

My God is the salvation of my countenance.

 

 

 

He is long way away from Jerusalem – in the Land of Jordan or up on Mount Hermon. He knows that the Lord is always with him, and he can pray to the Lord, but he feels a long way away. Being challenged from all sides of life, and taunted by his enemies with the apparent lack of any evidence for the presence of God, nevertheless, he remains faithful to God, he longs to be back in Jerusalem where he can sense God’s presence and grace, where everyone is caught up with worship and adoration, but it is in times like this that he reminds himself of hope.

 

 

 

Psalm 42 (43)

 

Judge me, O God, and pass judgment in my cause against an unholy nation;

 

Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man.

 

2 For You, O God, are my strength;

 

Why do You cast me off?

 

Why do I go about with a sad face when my enemy afflicts me?

 

3 Send out Your light and Your truth;

 

They guided me and led me to Your holy mountain

 

And to Your tabernacles.

 

4 And I will come to the altar of God,

 

To the God who makes glad my youth;

 

I will give thanks to You with the lyre, O God, my God.

 

5 Why are you so sad, O my soul? And why do you trouble me?

 

Hope in God, for I will give thanks to Him;

 

My God is the salvation of my countenance.

 

 

 

The writer appears powerless in his own eyes and before his enemies, and God seems to have abandoned him. It is at his lowest point that he turns to pray the greater prayer (42:3): the prayer for God’s light and truth to come and find him, to lead him back to the very presence of God so that he can praise God once more. Light and truth is what you need not only when your intellect is curious and needs stimulating, but when your whole being is lost, downcast, depressed, thirsty for God.

 

 

 

We now know that it is the faith and cry like the one of the Psalmist that led to God’s dwelling among us, His Resurrection, and the ultimate comfort through His Holy Spirit, Who is the Comforter and the Spirit of Truth! We know that God is with us!

 

In these trying times of the Corona Virus, we too are invited to exclaim with the Psalmist: Why are you so sad, O my soul? Hope in God, for I will give thanks to Him.

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