March 18, 2020 — Psalms

During the day, I run through a variety of emotions. I was reminded that my “generation” and younger often harbored low-level angst. At least now, I caught myself thinking, we have somewhere to put such images of future gloom (although Global Warming should have been enough). Today, we have something more than mere perceptual, non-immediate threats. Coming alien invasions and Armageddon movies meet nostalgic ideas of some non-existent past where people still fought and believed in something. Maybe most people in history did not believe in higher causes, perhaps they just found themselves in a situation.

In any case, here we are, somewhere in between an unpredictable future and a past. Both appear so far from our present. We are, in short, in a liminal, emergent moment. One often hears of emergence and liminality as positive forces, but they are the same time terrifying. I always found interesting the fact that many of the Psalmists used a Biblical Hebrew word which might mean either blessing and curse depending on the context. Who knows what will come from this liminal moment. The best we can do is pray, love, and hope through our curse which brings blessing and our blessing which brings curse.

Today, I turned to the Psalms for comfort. In particular, Psalm 126:

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

For a musical version try Bifrost Arts’s version: Psalm 126

Author Details

Calvyn du Toit

Calvyn C. du Toit is a PhD-candidate in Christian Spirituality at the University of South Africa (UNISA), and a Research Associated in the Department of Christian Dogmatics and Ethics at the University of Pretoria. He lives in New York City, where he is h(o)us(e)band to Christine, and 6PM Music Director at the Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal).

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