Sow in Tears, Reap with Joy, Psalm 126
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy
Praying the Psalms, 6
6-7 Apr 2019, Christ Mountain Top, The Lord’s Table
Opening Scripture, Isaiah 43.16-21
Children, John 12.1-8
Message, Psalm 126
Mom, after diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and consult with Fox Chace, and the good news: I had to pinch myself
“We were like those who dream”
Historical context: Return from exile
When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion (Ps 126.1, NIV)
From living in refugee camps to living in their own land
Yet, disappointment too …
Lacked the resources and will to get it all done immediately
Resistance to their return and recovery
Continued to live in distress
– wall not repaired, temple not built
Temple they dreamed of wasn’t the temple they could build
Those whose mouths were filled with laughter now sow in tears.
Dynamic of Memory and Hope
Isaiah, “do not remember the former things”
Ebenezer (come thou fount, #400)
1 Samuel 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, "Thus far the LORD has helped us."
It is the memory of God’s help in the past that gives us the confidence to dare for God’s help in the present and the future. It is memory and hope that allow us to remember our old shouts of joy and believe we will shout for joy once more.
Literary/Liturgical location, Songs of Ascents – 15 psalms (120-134)
Pilgrimage – every pilgrimage includes joy and struggle, and God is present with us in both
Temple stairs – going up, stepping toward God in worship and devotion even in our struggles (15 steps, same as # of Songs of Ascents)
In the pilgrimage, we learn the value of the mysterious blessing Jesus offers: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” “Then our mouths were filled with laughter.” Now, “restore our fortunes, O LORD.”
Experience of deliverance sustains us and provides hope in today’s crisis
Molly’s prayers – when things are tough, and her memory of God helping her (video)
She gives it to God. Do you take it back? Oh, no.
Why? Because, after 16 years of being alone, she has learned that she can rely entirely on God.
Mom, 5 days after good news on cancer … emergency surgery
We weren’t laughing.
We were sowing in tears.
We had no confidence as to the next step in the story. We did know that, no matter what, we were not alone. The God who delivered us so beautifully in the past was with us in the uncertain moment. Our tears would turn once more to shouts of joy.
The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol VI, Psalms, J. Clinton McCann, Jr. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996.