Reading: Psalm 137: 1-6
Psalm 137 is also a song of lament. The Israelites held captive in Babylon are strangers in a foreign land. They miss Jerusalem, their homes, the temple. The culture and the ways of the Babylonians are strange and often run counter to the faith in God that the Israelites practice. On top of all this, the Israelites must endure taunts and torment from the Babylonians. The Israelites are asked to sing the songs of God – the God who loves and saves them. How ironic the twist as they live in exile.
We look at the news and see the things going on around us and we too lament. As followers of Jesus Christ we are often “strangers in a foreign land”. We miss the good old days when everyone knew God, when the churches were full, and when the name of God drew only respect. The culture and ways of the world are strange and often run counter to our faith and to God’s ways. And on top of all this, the calls of hypocrites, elitists, and judgmental ring out from those who stand against God and the church. We often feel and act small for a people who worship the God of all creation.
Our sadness and tears for our world are much like the years shed by the Israelites. We shed tears of alienation and rejection. We too are reminded of our reality that we are in this world but not of it. Our home is in heaven. We, however, also shed tears of sadness and empathy. We see so many who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and we are sad. This great gift of salvation that we received from God is a gift for all people. The sadness and empathy that wells up in us and knowing the gift of life that we have leads us out into the world to share Christ’s light and love. As we bring Christ into the world, as we see others coming to know Christ, our tears will become tears of joy over another won for Christ. We go forth knowing we serve and love a mighty God. Thanks be to God.