Tag Archives: psalm 30

Longing to be clothed

You have turned my wailing into dancing;
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy. (Psalm 30:12)

I carry on my person everywhere I go two talismans of my recovery. 

The first is a medallion celebrating my first year of sobriety. 

  
The second is a bracelet — the last thing I bought without telling my wife — that helps me remember I don’t need to spend money when I am feeling “restless, irritable, and discontented.”

  
But what recovery really looks like for me is the Pendleton shirt I’m wearing in this picture with my grandson. 

  
After I lost my job, I was at home a lot more often. I would usually wear jeans and a turtleneck and my favorite plaid shirt. 

I remember sitting on the couch one evening thinking, “I really like this shirt; I should buy another one.”

It took only a few seconds for my new inner voice to respond. “Don’t be an idiot. This is a Pendleton shirt, and it will last forever. You won’t outlive this shirt; you don’t need to buy another one.”

Paul writes that:

We do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day …. in this tent we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed” (2 Cor. 4:16, 5:4). 

Even though God is working in us to renew our inner nature, we may need reminders of that hidden process from time to time. 

How often? 

“One day at a time,” says AA. “Daily we begin again,” say the Benedictines. 

Even though we “wish not to be unclothed,” we may have to spend time being uncomfortably open and vulnerable — honestly sitting with our restlessness and our “stinking thinking” — before we can experience a new kind of peace and serenity.

Being content, being at peace, being calm — these are what it means to be “clothed with joy.”

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. (BCP 102)

Our violence cannot save us

Weeping may spend the night,
but joy comes in the morning.

While I felt secure, I said,
“I shall never be disturbed.
You, Lord, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”

Then you hid your face,
and I was filled with fear. (Psalm 30:6-7)

The world that Jesus was born into was characterized by violence.

His mother and father, poor and simple peasants, lived under the yoke of Roman imperial power. That power infected even the Jewish ruler, Herod, whose paranoia about the prophecy of another “king” caused him to┬áhave the children of Bethlehem slaughtered.

Violence infected the crowd that demanded Jesus be killed. “We can’t do it ourselves,” they said, so they handed him over to the Romans. Jesus died in agony, publicly executed as a criminal.

Two thousand years later, the infection has only spread. We no longer recognize violence, because it is so casual, so pervasive, ever-present on TV and in our “games.” We even call violence “security” and believe that being better-armed or striking first will make us safe.

Our violence cannot save us. It has never saved us. It will never save us.

Lord Jesus, quickly come! Our souls are full of heaviness and we are brought up short by our powerlessness.

Come again in your disarming vulnerability, your self-offering love, your peace that passes all understanding. Strengthen us to meet violence with love and to face the world unafraid.

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.