Mark Ramsey and Kristy Farber are doing a sermon series on the Psalms this Lent. Perhaps it’s where I am in my life now but I can really relate to the sermons. On Feb. 17, Mark preached about Psalm 137. I’ve always hated this Psalm especially verse 9 which reads “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”
In the sermon, Mark suggested that “we need help with our faith language. And into this pressing need, the Bible offers us …the Psalms.” I think at times, we don’t know anything about a faith language – I know I don’t. For example, lately I’ve been really angry. I’m sick of dealing with this TBI and all of its effects. I’m tired of becoming overstimulated during a conversation and having to leave the room to “rest-my-brain.” I’m sick of having to plan for everything since I don’t “think well on my feet.”
I don’t know what took me so long to discover that one way I can deal with my fury, is to swim sprints. When I swim laps as fast as I can, pounding the water as I go, I think about everything I’m mad about. It’s like having a temper tantrum in the pool. I love it because I always feel so much better afterwards. Now I have to figure out how to put a pool in our basement so I can swim sprints anytime! This is truly my faith language.
The Psalmist wrote about throwing “little ones” against a rock which was a temper tantrum of sorts as well. How do we express our anger? I know folks who express it in unhealthy ways that hurt themselves and others. An activist I know expresses it by demonstrating against the injustices in our world. Musicians and other artists use their art for this purpose. I used to fiercely play my violin which helped immensely. Now I’ve discovered I can also do this as I sing.
As Mark suggests, we can hear God’s voice of hope and promise only if we express ourselves fully. This is what I’m trying to do but it is hard. Too often, we’re required – or we think we are required- to “pretend” as we live in our world. We hide our true feelings because we’re afraid of what folks might think.
I love the way this Psalm begins: “By the rivers of Babylon- there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.” It is important for us to weep sometimes. Only then will we be free.