This isn’t the Psalm you ever use at church to start a service, it’s certainly doesn’t have a Pro-Life ending. On the violence scale we are going to offer an “R” rating and if I haven’t sold it to you yet, it starts off bad and the ending is worse.
1. By the waters of Babylon there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2. On the willows there we hung our harps,
3. for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing for us one of the songs of Zion!”
4. How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? Psalm 137:1-4
We were mourning our losses and the ones responsible demanded songs of joy, to be honest, I cannot sing. Typically the Psalms bail out from the weight of all of this, but not this Psalm. I’m really not in the mood for a cheerleader pick-me-up today.
There is a time for every matter under the sun. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Not everything is solved through the power of positive thinking. Honest mourning over our losses, choosing to not sing for a moment in time, hanging up our harps, these are viable options in the moment. We can get to a different Psalm on a different day, and I strongly encourage us to make that choice, but it’s today and my harp is on the tree.
In the mean time Job’s three friends came for a visit to support their friend after his unfathomable loss. They tore their robes, wept and they sat with Job for seven days and seven nights, no one spoke a word. I’m guessing no one sang either. Seven days, not fixing it, not offering a cliché, not asking someone to get over it, just being with your friend. Culturally its called “Sitting Shiva,” much different than demanded songs of joy.
“How can we sing songs of the Lord…