Dear Church family,
During this season of travel, we are continuing with our traveling songs from the Psalms of Ascent. Today’s psalm is one of the shortest, only 3 verses long, and may not be as well known to you. It is Psalm 131:
My heart is not proud, O Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
This beautiful short song is often believed to have been written by a woman. This belief is based on both the descriptions of weaned children and mothers, and on the overall feeling the writer is describing. Pride and haughtiness are sins we recognize and we often label as problems. But their extreme opposite, not humility but humiliation, is also a sin. To think so little of ourselves that we should not even be able to consider “wonderful” things, that is a sin against the God who created us in his own image. While this sin of humiliation can afflict men, it is more common in women. In the face of this difficult sin that is rarely named, the writer offers a beautiful image to counter her struggles. She describes her soul as a “weaned child.” Her soul is no longer a small and weak infant but her soul—now that she has stilled and quieted it—is a growing thing. It is stronger than it once was. She can be a humble person without being a humiliated person.
All of us have our own path of faith to travel. For some of us, pride is not a problem on that path. It is not a sin we need to confess. But we may need to confess its opposite. If this is true for you, never forget that you were created in God’s own image and, to quote mothers from across time: “God doesn’t make junk.” To believe that you are junk, that you are not even worth wonderful things, that is not true at all. It is a sin against your humanity and a sin against God. Confess it, turn from it, and put your hope in the Lord who can help your soul grow and become strong.
May Christ’s peace be with you all,