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From the Depths of Longing
[Editor's note: This Advent season, we will be running a series of reflections on the Bread Blog from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. The reading for this post is Psalm 42. Keep reading Bread Blog for more Advent reflections.]
By Rev. Leslie Veen
Thirst. Deep thirst. An existential thirst. Crying out from the very depth of the psalmist's body. A thirst brought about by separation from God.
Removed from the sacred places he once knew. Removed from the worshipping community that had sustained him. The psalmist is left flailing. Searching. Longing for God.
Those who surround him now are of no help. In fact, they only serve to make matters worse. They mockingly ask where this psalmist's God is as they point out the dire nature of his circumstances.
From the depths of his entire being the psalmist cries out. And the depths of creation call back. The awesomeness of God's good creation demonstrates God's love and presence and remind the psalmist of past times when God's love and presence were very real for him.
This gives the psalmist confidence to expect that things will be different, better, in the future. God has been a help in the past. God will be a help in the future. Then the psalmist will be able once again to praise God.
Then. But not yet. For now the psalmist must wait.
And so must we. In this season of Advent, what deep longing cries out from within us? How do the depths of God's creation call back? How are we being asked to wait for God as we cry, "Come Lord Jesus, come!"?
Prayer: Compassionate God, we find ourselves deep within this time of waiting, longing for you and for things to be different in our lives and in the world. Like the psalmist, embolden us to be confident that as you have been our help in the past so will you be our help in the future. Hear our longings and bless our waiting. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Rev. Leslie Veen (SFTS Master of Divinity '05) is San Francisco Theological Seminary's director of field education and placement.
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