by David Hett on October 21, 2021
Devotion: October 21
Those who go out weeping…shall come home with shouts of joy
This psalm, written in utter jubilation over the Jewish exiles returning from Babylon to their homeland, suggests that times of “exile” will not last forever: “Those who go out weeping…shall come home with shouts of joy.” Many experience exile: I know of parents who are exiled from children, and vice versa, over great political and religious divides. To have lost someone we love can feel like being exiled from a togetherness and joy that will never return.
Marcus Borg writes that the “way” of Jesus “is a way of return from exile, of reconnection; it is a way of liberation from bondage…a way of having our hearts opened by spending time in thin places; a way that leads from being lost to finding and being found.”
The “Negeb” (v.4) is a desert region, and we all go through periods of arid, parched souls. The big revelation in Mother Teresa’s journals was of years of feeling bereft of God. Fortunately, few of us need go this long without having “the watercourses” flowing again, like the irrigation of the Negeb. Sometimes just acknowledging the dryness, the dearth of divine Presence, really experiencing it, allows the tears of sadness and pain to arise, and begin to carry with them the holy compassion that makes true the psalm, “May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.”
The Holy One meets us exactly where we are.