Psalm 79 is a psalm that cries for revenge, and as I ponder today's social and political landscape, I am saddened that collectively we humans still hunger and hunt for retaliation. The psalm begins with a lament, and Nan C. Merrill's rendition begins beautifully:
O Merciful Presence,
the ignorant seem
unrestrained in the world;
they defile the Holy Temple,
your dwelling place within;
they leave those weaker
than themselves in ruins.
Psalm 79 in the Spiritual Formation Bible includes this reassuring note: "God's compassion can reach into our past." Our past does not have to remain a rusted junkyard of hoarded landmines. As I write this, I hear geese flying over our rooftop, calling to one another to stay together and journey further on. We, too, have an expansive frontier before us. Let us release what needs to be released and go into that great love.
Let the cries of the victims of injustice
come before You;
according to Your great Power,
break the bonds of oppression.
Let all that has been garnered through greed
be returned in full measure
with open hands.
Then we your people,
those who would companion with You,
will give thanks to You forever;
from generation to generation
we will abandon ourselves into your hands
with grace-filled, open hearts.
Psalm 79, abridged
Psalms for Praying, Nan C. Merrill