This past week, Pastor Tim Rauser was leading the music team and he also wrote the refrain for our Psalm. While I was prepping for Sunday with him, we had a number of good conversations, particularly around Psalm 13. This Psalm is very brief; it’s only six verses. As Tim mentioned on Sunday, the first four of these are fairly melancholic and then there is an abrupt change in tone with the final two verses praising God for his love, salvation, and goodness.
I’ve often heard people say that they find it difficult to identify with Psalms like these because one moment it seems like the author is in the depths of depression and then next they’re praising God and dancing on mountaintops. This ‘about face’ is a common feature of the Psalms.
So, are the Psalms phoney or inauthentic in how they seem to seamlessly move from the dark moments of our lives right into uninhibited praise?
Well, in my opinion, these Psalms speak to the transformative nature of true, Biblical worship. After all, these Psalms were written for use in corporate worship. And so, this shows us that God is not afraid or ashamed of his people coming together and dumping all of their raw, wounded, frustrated selves before him. After all, why else would these sorts of songs be included in scripture? God wants to show us what he can do when we empty ourselves before him.
I think it’s important that, in our worship, we create a space where you can pour out your heart in anguish in order for God to meet you, heal you, transform you, and send you out shouting alleluia!
Psalms like Psalm 13 invite us into that process. They allow us to be unflinchingly real with God and simultaneously call us to faithfully hold on to his goodness.
On that note, I’ll leave you with two videos:
This first one is Brian Doerksen’s rendition of Psalm 13 from a number of years ago.
In this somewhat more recent song, Gungor assures us that, God makes beautiful things out of the mess of our lives. That’s the transformative power of worship.
Sunday, October 23, 2016:
Call to Worship: Ps 71
Service of the Word:
Psalm 13 (sung as arranged by Tim Rauser)
Scripture Reading: Genesis 22
“This I Believe (the Creed)” (Hillsong)