Between the Lines: Proper 9- July 7, 2013

Text: Psalm 30:1-12

Sprig growing from a tree stump

Sprig growing from a tree stump
(Photo credit: allyhook)

O Lord, you brought up my soul from She’ol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

The text is a song of praise and thanksgiving for being delivered from “the pit,” initially a personal trial, later the communal difficulties surrounding the exile – a collective sigh of relief.

This is a literal “thank God!” after a close call.  I am reminded in it (as I too frequently am) of Carl Jung’s remark, made in a letter to “M. Leonard” in December of 1959:

“To this day ‘God’ is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions, and change the course of my life for better or for worse.”

This psalm thanks god for a change for the better, (after a considerable time in the worse camp), for a hoped-for return from exile.  But the question Jung opens up for me is that of how God operates in “the pit” of our lives as well, in the exiles, in the awfulness of things.  Can we thank God for that as well?  Could you take a deep breath and sit down and write a psalm or a song of gratitude for the darkest of your days and nights?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


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