S (Scripture): Psalm 123
3 Have mercy on us, Lord! Have mercy
because we’ve had more than enough shame.
4 We’ve had more than enough mockery from the self-confident,
more than enough shame from the proud.
O (Observation): Sometimes some of the psalms will run in themes; other times, the psalms are a bit random in their placement / order. This is a case in which a few of the adjacent psalms have a bit of a connection, with the theme of “Pilgrimage psalms.”
One can see a cluster of Hebrew people, walking along dusty roads leading towards Jerusalem, kids laughing while sitting on the cart being pulled by the donkey. Weary from travel, they repeat the words: “I raise my eyes to you – you who rule heaven. Have mercy on us, Lord! We’ve had more than enough shame.”
They come, seeking wisdom and comfort from the Lord. They pilgrimage to be reminded that God is in the world, making things right for all who believe. That God stands with the downtrodden, the weak, and the poor…for the rich will rarely stand with the poor, and the self-confident will rarely show mercy.
A (Application): As Thanksgiving approaches (less than 2 weeks away), we have the privilege of thinking about all of the things for which we are thankful. We journey to see family and friends, kids playing (or hopefully, sleeping) in the back of the car, while we check our smartphones for directions (or to take side roads to avoid the traffic from the accident a few miles ahead).
But do we take time on those trips to recognize God’s Spirit pulling us together as friends and family? That unspoken draw, that gravitational pull, that tug within our heart…to gather together…that pull is the Spirit drawing us together. We draw together to put away the shame for a few days – at least, hopefully.
I recognize that for some, the shame deepens at the holiday season. Trips are made reluctantly, because the shame will get worse, by family members that wish to disown you, or show apathy towards you and your life.
So as we pilgrimage…let us go with our eyes lifted towards heaven…where God hears our calls and our cries.
May we show thankfulness and gratitude, and be surrounded by those we love.
And check out Seth Godin’s Thanksgiving Reader, a free resource that will help you to remember that Thanksgiving is about gratitude and possibility. Perhaps just one or two of the readings from it would lift your spirits and bring joy to you and those you gather with this coming Thanksgiving holiday.
P (Prayer): Lord, keep us mindful of the joy you have in store for us…joy that overshadows the shame we feel in this world. Amen.