Come, let us sing with joy unto the Lord;
let us be glad and heartily rejoice.
Into God's presence come with hymns of praise;
with thankful hearts new psalms and anthems raise,
till all earth's tongues be joined in one great voice.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
sovereign above all powers of heaven and earth.
Caverns and heights lie both with God's hand,
who made the sea and molded the dry land,
and from whose life all creatures have their birth.
Come, let us kneel before the Lord our God;
to our Creator let all hearts draw near.
This is our God, whose folk and sheep are we,
whose steadfast love endures eternally.
Oh, that today you would God's calling hear!
Rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say, rejoice...The sentiment is proclaimed in scripture and in song and I am not sure I like all that pressure. I don't want to rejoice. I don't believe that God always works things out to our benefit in the end. Sometimes shit, as they say, is simply shit. Cruelty is cruelty and people make decisions that hurt other people. It doesn't have some great cosmic significance. Sometimes it is what it is and we simply must trudge through. Try as we might to find meaning or a silver lining, there is none.
This is not always the case, of course, but being able to discern the difference between a "growing experience" and whatever one would call that other thing is an important part of our spiritual journey. Well, it has been for me. The things that happen are not always about me and my growth. Some things just, well, happen and have nothing to do with anything.
Now, rejoicing in God in spite of that stuff...well, there's some good wisdom there. That may be how we discern the difference. Keep your eyes on God. Look for God. Listen for God. Feel around in your own or the world's darkness for God. Seek. You will find. But in the finding I frequently discover how little of anything is actually about me and my soul. Then again, I may be starting from a false assumption in the first place.
Last night I had a dream that I was working at Johnny Cash's house. His first wife had moved back in. She needed a place to live during her illness. She was dying of cancer in my dream. Johnny and his present spouse worked that out and there his first wife stayed and died. We buried her and I woke up.
Now, that's a curious enough dream to be sure, but to add Freudian insult to Jungian injury, I was working in the kitchens and at one point I discovered my prayer book. It was on a shelf over a metal sink.
The pages were worn and tattered. Someone had been using it and in the dream I was torn...I didn't remember using it that much but it was clear in the dream that I had. No one had borrowed it, but the relief I felt in discovering it over the sink was the relief one feels when finding that which was lost.
So, this morning I continue to seek. I shall find courage some day soon to pray again. I know God will meet me there. Christ shall pull up a chair and ask me some inane question about my mother while I recline on my prayer couch. Johnny Cash will play "In the Garden" in the back ground and I will wonder whatever happened to his wife.