Psalm 126 – Br. Luke Ditewig

Remember: A Meditation on Psalm 126

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true,
when God returned Zion’s exiles.
We laughed, we sang,
we couldn’t believe our good fortune.
We were the talk of the nations –
“God was wonderful to them!”
God was wonderful to us;
we are one happy people.
And now, God, do it again –
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
So those who planted their crops in despair
will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing. (Translation: The Message)

Have you been part of a surprise party? Or the reuniting of friends who didn’t expect to see each other? Have you witnessed an act of kindness or generosity that stunned the recipient? Psalm 126 recalls a laugh-out-loud time that was “like a dream, too good to be true.” 

The people of Israel had been captured and forcibly taken away from their homes to an enemy’s land. Not by just any enemy but Babylon, which had conquered their previous enemy, Assyria. Not just defeat. They were doomed, having lost to this most powerful empire. But then, against all odds, God brought them back home. Remember that time? Remember when God saved us? Remember how we laughed and sang? Remember that grace, that bounty, that taste of heaven?

Remember because now we’re back to normal life. Now it is not so heavenly but rather a daily grind, a tragic grief, a depressing gloom, or a crisis for survival. Remember that time because now I’m not sure how we’ll get by. How will we make it to tomorrow or next month or next year? The psalm says they “planted their crops in despair” and with “heavy hearts” because if the drought continues and the rain doesn’t come, all will be lost.

Amid despair, with the memory of blessing, they petition: “God, do it again – bring rains to our drought-stricken lives.” May we shout and laugh as we bring in the harvest. Let it rain. Let the crops grow. Not just enough to survive – surprise us with your generosity. Give us cause to celebrate your goodness. With memory of blessing, they ask in hope.

Remembering kindles hope. Remembering is both looking over the shoulder and looking right in front of us. Remember the past, what God has done. Remember today. Look back and look around to see. What has made you laugh and sing with wonder? When did you feel like you were dreaming? In what small but very real ways do you see signs of love? What are you thankful for?

Dare to hope for more of that, for more divine generosity, to come. Dare to hope because God is good. Dare to hope because even amid our heavy hearts as we face daily grinds, grief, gloom, and crisis, God still glimmers. Remember God over your shoulder and remember God in front of you today. Cling to these memories. Pray Psalm 126 clinging and crying out to God who blesses.

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