Read Psalm 130 while thinking of the Body of Christ as reflected in your congregation. You might want to read it aloud and substitute the name of your church for the pronoun “I”. (Out of the depth, ??? church cries to you, O Lord.) How does it sound when you hear the psalm in that manner?
O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is
steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.
— Psalm 130:7
WHEN A CHURCH CRIES OUT
It is so easy for the church to grow dispirited and discouraged
in the face of all that troubles the world. What does it mean for the
church to cry out, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! Lord,
hear my voice!” (vv. 1-2).
Does it not mean that the church is joining the rest of the world in struggling with the reality of evil? Like Christ, does the body of Christ need to identify with the pain and fear of people’s lives?
A CHURCH DEPENDS ON GRACE
Does the church need to confess its inability to rise above its own tendency to serve itself? Is it only when we are boldly honest about our sinfulness as a church, that we can recognize our need of God? “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered” (vv. 3-4).
Is it only from repeated experiences from the depth of despair that we can have the illusion of self-sufficiency shattered? It is then that, instead of planning God’s
agenda, we can say, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his
word I hope” (v. 5).
WAITING IS NOT EASY
It is so hard for the church to wait for the Lord. Waiting seems
like such a useless waste of time when there is so much to be done.
Our impatience is like that of a watchman waiting for the morning.
Yet, our hope, our only sustaining hope, is in “the steadfast love”
of the Lord, and it is by experiencing that love out of our depths
that we have hope to offer others. Waiting seems so beyond our
control. There is no way to measure it.
Like Christ, the body of Christ is totally dependent on God and our hope is that God “will redeem (the church) from all his iniquities” (v. 8).
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When you pray this psalm with your church in mind, what are some of the thoughts that occur to you?