sexta-feira, 1 de abril de 2016


Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 130:1-2 NIV

Our first communication upon birth was open our mouth and let out a yell. After that first time, any discomfort such as hunger, cold, loneliness, fatigue or pain would solicit a cry which would last until help came. Gradually, we were educated that crying is ugly. Men do not cry and women weep gently, muffling their sobs with a beautiful hankie! Open our mouth and bellow? Never! We gradually learned to dominate our emotions or to deny them.

We Westerners may find it a bit strange to see TV news reports about the Middle East of men and women weeping openly, like children, while carrying the remains of their loved ones killed by acts of violence or other disasters. We behave with more dignity! Have we lost the art of crying (and playing)?

The Old Testament is a product of the East and is full of screaming and crying. Psalm 130 is just one example. In the solitude of the night a cry of pain or despair goes up. Everything is falling apart and the pain is unbearable. Only God is around to hear it! The Psalms convey strong emotions - fear, despair, anxiety, anger, thirst for revenge, hope and joy, ranging all the way from mourning to dancing.

Could it be that in our move away from being children we have distanced ourselves from ourselves? Jesus spoke about becoming like children to enter the kingdom of God. Children know what they feel and know to express themselves. As adults we learn to mask our feelings to the point of not knowing what we really feel. We become neurotic and in need of therapy to reestablish contact with ourselves.

This psalm is in the first person singular, "I cried." It is recorded as an intimate and solitary experience with the Divine. There are religious groups that attempt to institutionalize clamor by having special “prayer” meetings to influence God, much like the prophets of Baal in the Old Testament who considered God to be indifferent to human fate and in need to be prodded. The clamor of the psalmist was a solitary cry only wanting to be heard. Many years later Jesus affirmed that true payer takes place only in a one-on-one encounter with the Divine.

The psalmist's words indicate that the major reason for despair was the danger from within, not external forces. He speaks of sin as being the threat. The enemy was internal. The people needed to be saved from themselves. They were on the path of self-destruction, needing mercy and a change of direction.

Much of our suffering is the result of human failure all the way from our own individual errors to the collective sins of our society. We are actively or passively a part of our social ills. Perhaps our omission is as serious as our unquestioning acceptance of unjust social structures. We often simply “bitch” about our situation without taking any real action. How much do we really yearn for liberation from internal and external evils that afflict us?

Redemption begins with the cry for help. This cry should push us to move in the direction of change, starting with ourselves. That should lead to forgiveness and action (service)


Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel

    from all their sins.

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