Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
Upon the devastating shootings in Newtown last December, we had overwhelming responses. Some, like James Dobson, proclaimed that it was because we had driven God from our country that devastating events occurred. From the Presbyterian Church (USA), we had cries for gun violence legislation. Then, the there was the adamant belief from the NRA that if more guns were on the scene, then the shootings would not have occurred. The trite aspects of our faith became clear as people filled Facebook timelines with updates like, “The children are in a better place now.”
When I read this Psalm, I thought about our disquieted souls, and the events became clear in my mind again: the photos of open-mouthed children being led in a human chain to a safe space outside, the woman crying on her cell phone while clutching her chest, and people trying to comfort children with an embrace or a stuffed animal.
When we are cast down, we often turn to judgmental blame, quick solutions, or trite clichés. While I think it’s important to make sure that our emotional upheaval has an effect on society and its laws, there is no quick and easy way to go about that sort of deep change. So, I wonder what are we doing in order to listen to our disquieted souls? Two months after the horror, has our attention simply moved on to the next headline? Or have we been able to spend time tending to our souls?
This Lenten season is a time dedicated to growing deep souls and this Psalm reminds us of the importance of listening to our cast-down selves, sitting with the disquiet, and letting our souls grow deep in God’s hope. The problems of violence, the wounds of the children, the grief of the parents will have no simple solutions. And so we must listen, hope, and grow deep.
God, may we listen to our sorrow, have patience with our disquiet, and in our suffering, may our souls grow deep in your hope. Amen.