Mourning Into Dancing

Mourning Into Dancing

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Rev. Dr. Mobby Larson is a retired pastor living in Gales Ferry CT.  She helps out local clergy by doing supply preaching and looks forward to choir and handbells starting up again at church.  Meanwhile, she rings with Shoreline Ringers, a concert handbell choir, and keeps busy with her husband, children and grandchildren (all local!).


Scripture:  Psalm 30  (CEV)

I will praise you, Lord!
    You saved me from the grave
    and kept my enemies
    from celebrating my death.
I prayed to you, Lord God,
    and you healed me,
    saving me from death
    and the grave.

Your faithful people, Lord,
will praise you with songs
    and honor your holy name.
Your anger lasts a little while,
    but your kindness lasts
    for a lifetime.
At night we may cry,
    but when morning comes
    we will celebrate.

I was carefree and thought,
    “I’ll never be shaken!”
You, Lord, were my friend,
    and you made me strong
    as a mighty mountain.
But when you hid your face,
    I was crushed.

I prayed to you, Lord,
    and in my prayer I said,
    “What good will it do you
    if I am in the grave?
Once I have turned to dust,
    how can I praise you
or tell how loyal you are?
    Have pity, Lord! Help!”

You have turned my sorrow
    into joyful dancing.
    No longer am I sad
    and wearing sackcloth.
I thank you from my heart,
    and I will never stop
    singing your praises,
    my Lord and my God.

Reflection: Mourning Into Dancing!

I’ve always loved the psalms. In their verses you can find any human emotion—fear, anger, frustration, guilt, despair, faith, joy and praise.  Psalm 30 follows the often-used “inverted bell curve” pattern:  faith, troubles, and back to faith again.
 
The psalmist starts out with a sneak peak at the happy ending, just to reassure us. Then we descend to the depths.
 
I wonder what the psalmist was lying awake worrying about at night.  We get it, whatever it was; after all, we’ve been there. Maybe we are looking for answers, or a way out of a seemingly impossible situation. It might be illness or pain or grief so overwhelming we wonder if we can keep living. Perhaps it is a feeling of guilt, not doing something that should have been done.  Or doing something or saying something that would have been better off left undone or unsaid.
 
In recent months, I suspect we have all had many sleepless nights from an overabundance of worries:  our jobs and the safety of our workplaces, illness of our loved ones or fears for our own health, our homes (and supplies of toilet paper!), our children and their school schedules, politics and bitter divisions, racial tensions, world threats, climate change. What are we supposed to do—as individuals, as a nation, as people of faith? Whom do we trust to give us direction?  Is our strength up to the needs before us?
 
Is God angry with us for all our shortcomings and mistakes? Is God so disappointed with us that God will disown us? The psalmist thought so, and we have surely wondered that ourselves.  We want to be “right” with God; and that middle-of-the-night longing leads us to prayer, perhaps with “sighs too deep for words.”
 
We may not get any specific answers in the middle of the night; in fact, it often takes us a long time to discover God’s answers. But the wonder of God, as we read in the psalms or discover for ourselves, is that we can never lose God’s love, no matter how stupid or inadequate or guilty or abandoned we feel in the middle of the night. What we get is reassurance and love. All those fears, those feelings of guilt, all our pain and sorrow fade away in the light of God’s new day—over and over again, for all time. Praise God!

PRAYER

Holy God, We are so blessed with your caring and your forever-love.  When the worries of the dark have us terrified, strengthen our hearts and ease our minds, knowing that you are near.  And we will sing your praises in the morning light!  Amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at paged@sneucc.org

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For those grieving for more than 598,000 dead due to the Covid-19 disease
    • EDITOR'S NOTE: This week marks the smallest increase in deaths due to Covid since I began tracking them on March 30, 2020, with slightly more than 1,100 deaths recorded in the U.S. in the last week according to the CDC.
  • For the victims and their families of the 294 mass shootings already carried out in 2021
  • For the family and friends of Rev. Harold L. Harrison, UCC pastor who served in MA, NH, and as former ACM for the Vermont Conference, who died on June 6

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

  • For all campers, camp staff, and volunteers who return to summer camps this season after a long pandemic interlude
  • For fathers, father figures, and male role models who were celebrated on Father's Day yesterday

 This Week in History:

June 21, 1964 (57 years ago) Three civil rights activists, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney, are killed by Ku Klux Klan members. The three men were helping Black Mississippi residents register to vote, drawing the eye of the Ku Klux Klan in that part of the nation. In a coordinated effort with a local deputy sherrif, the Klan members cornered and killed the three men who were on their way home from Philadelphia. The FBI eventually tracked down the killers and the federal government charged 18 conspirators. Seven were convicted, including Sam Bowers, the Imperial Wizard of the local Klan. Others were acquitted or released after hung juries. Eighty year old Edgar Ray Killen was later tried and convicted in 2005, 41 years after the murders, and sentenced to 60 years in prison.

“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Confucius

mobbylarson.jpg
the Rev. Dr. Mobby Larson Larson

a "mostly retired" pastor in Gales Ferry

June 21, 2021
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