URC Daily Devotion Sunday 6th September 2020 Psalm 13

Sunday 6th September 2020 Psalm 13

How long will you forget me, Lord,
and hide your face away?
How long shall evils tear my heart
and troubles fill my day?

2 Look on my need, O Lord my God
who grants my every breath;
give light that I may see your light,
not sleep the sleep of death.

3 Look on their threats and hear my cry,
and answer when I call:
or they will claim the victory
who long to see me fall.

4 Lord, in your mercy is my trust;
I shall be glad and free;
Then shall I sing with all my heart
how you have dealt with me.

Christopher Idle from Psalm 13
© Christopher Idle/Jubilate Hymns Ltd

you can hear verse 1 sung here



“How long?” cries the Psalmist,
facing seeming abandonment in the face of affliction.
“How long?” cries the Psalmist,
expressing sorrow as enemies assail.
3000 years on we too may cry,
“How long, will the shadow of illness surround me, or a loved one?”
“How long, shall lockdown separate me from my loved ones?”
Today, Climate Sunday, we may hear other cries:
“How long”, cries Greta, on behalf of the world’s youth, 
“will we ignore the house on fire?”
“How long?” speaks Sir David on behalf of the scientific community,
“will policy fall short of evidence?”
“How long”, Extinction Rebellion prophetically protest,
“must we wait for a zero-carbon, just and green new normal?”
By articulating their concern, 
the Psalmist starts the transforming journey from their hurting, hungry heart.
Their next cry “give light that I may see your light” 
opens a way to renewed faith and trust in God.
The Psalmist’s journey from problem stated, to solution identified
to action taken, is one of engagement and hope.
It is so in our lives; for the way of healing,
is lined with care of body, mind and soul,
and the loneliness of lockdown
may be overcome with phone call, post and social media messaging.
Likewise, the Greta, Sir David and rebellious prophet within us all,
being concerned for the wellbeing of life on earth, know:
      of the imperative that policy follows science,
      that personal rights shouldn’t trump community well-being
      today’s choices should be mindful of tomorrow’s generations. 
We stand as Moses once did, overlooking the river
to the Promised Land beyond.
In a post-lockdown world, 
do we just gaze over a fictitious land of hope and dreams?
or do we ‘choose life’, 
intentionally setting off to a just and green new normal,
to which we’re called, and ultimately were born to run? 

As heart cries, “how long”?
may eye’s light see through darkness,
and hope lead the way.


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Dr David Pickering, Moderator, National Synod of Scotland, Rutherglen URC


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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