Psalms of Advent, December 12, 2022
You are invited to join me as we listen to Psalm 42, the second to last of the Advent psalms for this season of seeking, waiting, anticipating, and searching for the light that shines in the darkness. Psalm 42 is familiar to many people because of the memorable imagery of the first verse: “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, my God.” The entire psalm may be found here: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2042&version=NRSVUE.
Have you ever longed for water? Have you ever been really, physically, thirsty? A long, hot hike on an August day in the middle of a desert in Utah taught me about thirst and the very real, human desire for water. Halfway through the hike, under a blazing sun, I had finished my water. It would take two hours to get back to the car and then to a gas station or café, and I passed no one who might share some water on the way. When I finally found water, it was with great relief, gratitude, and rejoicing.
Have you ever longed for something else, been really, spiritually, thirsty? Such is the case for the psalmist here. While he is most likely lamenting exile and the dispersion of his people, the Jews, this poem speaks to any of us in general terms of danger, loneliness, threats, grief, depression, anxiety, trust, and hope. No matter who we are or what we believe, we have all, at times, been thirsty for an answer, an assurance, a justice, a reckoning, a solution, a Love that is bigger than our situation.
Thirst is not a choice, preference, or whim. Because we are human, water is a necessity for life. For this psalmist, so is God. I go back to Psalm 1 and the image of the tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in due season. Sometimes we do, indeed, go through parched seasons, but the hope that this psalm places in God is that these times are just that, seasons, and that if we stay grounded in the Divine, in the Mystery, in Love, in Light, we will again yield fruit. This promise is one I root in my heart.
Blessings ~ Rosemary
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