Wait, Waiting

Meditation on Psalm 130

Psalm: Psalm 130

I wait for you, O Lord; in your word is my hope. (Ps. 130:5)

1Out | of the depths
  I cry to | you, O Lord;
2O Lord, | hear my voice!
  Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my | supplication.
3If you were to keep watch | over sins,
  O Lord, | who could stand?
4Yet with you | is forgiveness,
  in order that you | may be feared.
5I wait for you, O Lord; | my soul waits;
  in your word | is my hope.
6My soul waits for the Lord more than those who keep watch | for the morning,
  more than those who keep watch | for the morning.
7O Israel, wait for the Lord, for with the Lord there is | steadfast love;
  with the Lord there is plen- | teous redemption.
8For the Lord shall | redeem Israel
  from | all their sins.

Pastor Stover’s Notes on Psalm 130

What strikes me, always, when Psalm 130 appears in our Lectionary, is the replication of the line, “more than those who keep watch for the morning.”

I suppose I kept “watch for the morning” most significantly the summer of my Clinical Pastoral Education or CPE.  Some nights on call at Children’s Hospital ER in Columbus, Ohio seemed to pass quickly with too many ER admissions. Others seemed so long. I learned what my body and mind felt in a half awake, half asleep time, the fogginess, and temptation to close my eyes “for just a minute.” It helped to keep walking, but even that had its limits.

With morning would come the return of other pastors in training and the end of night call.  Released, a quick drive home, undressing, and dive beneath the covers, could not come quick enough; then sleep.  Ahhhh.  And that was but one night or watching…

Waiting in general is not a well practiced skill for Americans.  An African man waited all day at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Durham, NC for my offer of a ride home. I helped him with groceries, some from the church food shelves and other items from a grocery store en route to his second floor apartment. I learned later that Africans would wait, though he was not so much waiting for me but for God to prompt me to act kindly, to realize the depth of his need and the great wealth of my capacity to help him, even one more time.  Learning his story has created a “depth” (130:1) out of which I still cry, praying that the Lord would continue to hear the voice of his supplication, now, these 10 years later.

No, waiting is not a well-practiced skill for most Americans. Even now, in the White House, our president grows impatient for the end of this Corona Virus’ rampage. Surely he, himself, cries out to the Lord, “O Lord, hear my voice.”  Surrounded by all that one could want or need, he still grows impatient.  We understand impatience, though, don’t we?

Waiting is not a well-practiced skill for most Americans. Cabin Fever we call it, though our temperature remains at 98.6. Surrounded by all our possessions, gadgets, food, and internet access, we  still find it difficult to wait, wait, wait for the ordeal to end, even though, for the most part, ours is not yet “the depths” of despairing. 

Imagine yourself to be a Syrian refuge even news organizations have forgotten. Imagine fleeing violence by running into greater violence, then learning of Covid-19’s outbreak in the camp. 

Waiting with them, we speak the words of Psalm 130 this day:

Out of the depths
  we cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear their voices!

They wait for you, O Lord;  and my soul waits as well;
  —in your word is my hope.

Peace this Night.

Pastor Kim Stover


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