The Melody of Lent


Sometimes I feel discouraged,
and think my work's in vain,

(or I have also seen this second line, “And deep I feel the pain”)

but then the Holy Spirit
revives my soul again.

When in the last week did the above words feel like the soundtrack for your soul?  Where do the words above give expression to an experience you are having?  We live in a world where it is easy to be discourage and deep within feel an ache and pain and wonder if what we are doing is making a difference.

Pandemic; polarization in our politics; personal problems that wake us up in the middle of the night for a chat; discrimination all its vast variety of shapes and sizes.  The 24-hour-news cycle perpetuates this sense that there is always “Breaking News”…and that if you don’t know about it immediately, well, then you must not care.  Turn on whatever news channel, there are at least five different stories your brain is forced to process.  The crawl across the bottom (which is a relatively new phenomenon that came into widespread use after 9/11).  On one side are stock updates.  Below that is an ad for the anchor’s interview with this person.  Then, there is the current anchor talking at you sharing detail after detail.

Sometimes I feel discourage and deep within my soul I feel the pain.

So much pain that we might feel paralyzed.  I mean, what can I do about refugees across the world, when in my own community there are people without a shelter and security?  So, we end up writing a check to alleviate some of the weight on our souls/shoulders. 

But I love how the Spiritual spins in a new direction by proclaiming and preaching that it is in prayer that our soul is revived.  Not always by my actions, not by filling my calendar trying to save the world, not by my check book.  By prayer.  Grounded and guided by God.  This Spiritual is a prayer that opens us to the moments we feel dismayed and disheartened and disjointed.  This Spiritual helps us give voice to the truth that live has difficulty and assures us that God is there in the valley every bit as God is there on the mountain top moments of joy. 

Where have you felt God’s comfort and compassion in the last week?  What role does prayer have in reviving your soul?  How can listening to Spirituals/music help?  How does talking with others help?  How does stillness/silence/shutting off the 24-hour news cycle both on the television and the endless loops in our mind help?

I invite you to breathe in God’s love.  Hold that holy presence.  Slow exhale.  Repeat.  Repeat again.  Repeat a fourth time until you sense that Spirit resuscitating and renewing and reviving your soul for today.

Prayer: Spirit of the living God fall afresh on me, meeting me in the midst of the pain, and helping me sense Your presence.  Amen.


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