During my life I have usually employed the Psalms as personal devotional prayers. But the Psalms primarily function as the songbook of God’s people. When the community gathers, the members share them.
Psalm 77 breaks into two sections. In the first (verses 1-10) the psalmist seems alone, in distress, and meditating upon the pitfalls of his own life. But in the second (verses 11-20), his perspective appears to shift. The psalmist meditates on the story of God, the Exodus, and how God can bring life from certain death.
During the first section, I picture a person in a worship service with head in hands. On the movie screen of her mind she replays all the emotions and events that have brought her to this moment of need and sees no relief.
Then, as the second section begins, she lowers her hands, opens her eyes, and sees that she is not alone. She stands in the middle of her community. They sing and speak and toast the good news of God with food and drink. She realizes that life is more than her situation; the song expands beyond her, offering more to meditate upon. And this “more-ness” creates space for her to dare to move forward and receive comfort at last.
At some point we all look at our lives, cry to God for comfort, and sense nothing in response. Psalm 77 reminds us that it isn’t just about us. In such times we have more to meditate upon: God’s story written in the language of Christ’s life. Other people around us believe when we cannot and, in doing so, they offer us the space to be made new.
God, even in yourself you form a community of three, a Trinity. Help me remember I am not alone. You are with me, as are others. Amen.