Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Singing in a Foreign Land

Are you familiar with Psalm 137?  Below are verses 1-4:
By the rivers of Babylon—
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
 On the willows there
 we hung up our harps.
For there our captors
 asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
 ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’
 How could we sing the Lord’s song
   in a foreign land?
This is a Psalm that laments the exile of Judah into Babylon. Those who are praying the words are far from home, far from the temple, far from where they believe God dwells.  How can they sing their songs?

A few Sundays ago, Joe mentioned this Psalm in his sermon, and he said, "In a strange land, how can you not sing your songs?"

What an interesting question.  How can we not sing our songs in a strange land?  It led me to wonder,  "What is a strange land to us?"

We talk about God in Sunday school; we talk about God in worship, and in other times of our lives when we are in community with believers -- places where we feel safe.  But are we not called to sing our songs in a foreign land?  What about those times when we do not feel safe talking about God?  When we fear rejection?  When we think we will be laughed at?  Shouldn't we sing (not literally, at least for some of us) about God then?

What "foreign" land is aching for God's word?



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