The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The first two verses above are among those I usually read as we enter church or chapel for a funeral service – as I mentioned yesterday, the place where I most often meet lamentation in real life.
They’re powerful words, but I wonder how much those who hear them realise the depth of faith they express. There’s a risk that they sound like one of a series of disconnected comforting phrases, with no sense of where they come from.
But those words of faith and hope come from the depth of grief and suffering. In the horrors of siege and defeat, the poet will still trust and hope. They’re not words from easy times, shallow in the face of grief and sorrow. They are costly, and determined, and because of that they are powerful.
Perhaps one of the blessings we receive from the darkest chapters of the Old Testament is the treasury of texts which kept a light glimmering in the night, and which have the authority and power to lighten our own darkness.