What I’m Thinking: Anticipating Thanks

The author of Psalm 107 offered thanks for God’s deliverance from a range of situations – after they had ended.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the 107th Psalm (Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22). Psalm 107 is a song of thanksgiving. It is a comprehensive song of thanksgiving, with several sections that describe the experiences of people who had endured some kind of hardship or suffering: being lost in the desert, being imprisoned, being ill or hungry, being caught in a storm at sea.

To each of these circumstances, the psalmist reports, God brought relief. God brought deliverance from their suffering.

Interestingly, it is the section about illness that is part of our lectionary readings for this week. In this year-long (more than year-long) pandemic, it seems very much, very much a word for our time – and yet not.

The psalmist wrote from the other side of the experience. He wrote from the position of memory or observation. This had happened but it was now over. The deliverance had come.

We, in the world today in this COVID-19 pandemic: it is not over. We can see, thanks to the distribution of vaccines, we can see that we will be in a position to sing this psalm as ours in days to come, but that day has not come yet.

We could, I suppose, simply say “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, who is good,” in anticipation of God’s deliverance. We could simply say that, and assure one another that it will be all right, but for half a million of our fellow citizens in the United States it has not been all right. For over half a million families in this country it has not been all right. For 2.6 million families around the world it has not been all right.

So what do we say?

We say that God was with those sufferers reported by the psalmist. We say that God is with us. We say that God is with those whose lives have come to an end because of this pandemic. We say that God is with their families. We say that God will still be with us when we are able to come to a celebration time and say, “This was our reality. It is our reality no more.”

Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comment section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: | Posted on March 8, 2021

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