A Psalm of lament
By Steven Smith
This psalm is a personal reflection on living as a man of faith with depression. Whilst depression is com taboo suppressing this aspect of human experience. In the scriptures, Psalms of lament gave voice to l liturgy. This is a challenge for the modern church to ensure that our corporate worship acknowledges experience.
Preparing this work allowed me to give voice to my own experience. In preparing it for expression I have provided the commentary below to outline this form.
It is my desire that the range of human experience finds meaningful and safe expression in the corpora depths of peace that transcend experience.
1 O Lord, Set me free,
extend out your hand and liberate me.2 You, O God, have failed to arrive,
Your light bearers deliver no oracle.
3 Your promise of open space is nowhere to be found,
Your salvation has bypassed me.
4 I cannot see you for my shadow,It
casts over my weary soul.
5 I am tossed around, around and around,
to the ground I fall, tired I rise.
6 From within I am attacked,
the enemy I own.
7 He envelopes my heart, my soul, my mind,
constricting the air for my weakened being.
8 In the tossing waves and forceful current
I send out my anchor towards your mantle,
9 Look at me, Turn your face upon my own
See my troubled mind
10 Step into the space, embrace your child,
let me not be found guilty for waiting on you.
11 Survey the land for precious worth
Mine my mind for fossicker’s find
12 Unveil what’s corrupt and deeply pollutes
find way for the treasure within to be held
13 You heard my plea and came to me
Illuminating shadows with light
14 Your face it shines upon my own
You wipe my brow, cup my cheek
15 Great and mighty is your salvation
The excavator of all ills
16 I will proclaim your craft to the whole earth
To the ends your mighty works
The psalm commences in verse 1 with a short invocation of the divine name partnered with an introductory statement of the issue, being a form of captivity.
The section from verses 2 through 7 takes the classic form of the Lament proper and describes the distress. It identifies a number of characters in the plot, namely “You, O God,” “I,” and “my enemies.” This section aims to provide information about the condition being lamented over.
Verses 8 is known as a confession of trust. This is a contrasting statement of faith in God amidst seeming despair.
Verses 9 through 12 represents what is known as the petition proper and is the hearty prayer of the psalm. This further develops the introductory cry for help of verse 1 and includes two elements, firstly. the call for attention and secondly the request for God to intervene.
Verses 13 through 16 is a contrasting confident praise for deliverance and is an abrupt turning in the tone of the psalm. This acts as a promise to praise in the event of answered prayer. This section is a rehearsal of the response after deliverance. It’s like, when these words can be spoken in worship it will be a moment celebration.
Written by Steven Smith. Steve is a lifelong world wanderer who loves exploration, wonder and discovery. His passions include Scuba Diving, walking in the wilderness, sharing food with others and LEGO construction.
Images used are sourced from Upsplash.com