The Psalter of Jesus: Nostalgia's Hope-Filled Ache // Psalm 77

We are homesick most for the places we have never known.
— Carson McCullers

The hard places of our lives often trigger memories of lighter days and longings to return there. We recall times when our world felt more like home. Hours spent swinging with childhood friends in the school yard. Prayers and laughter offered up around the family dinner table. Conversation and romance on the front stoop stretching well beyond sundown. We are sick for home. Yet this ache for the good ole days is not rooted in the sweetness of the past as we suppose. In truth, our past is most often no sweeter than our present; it's only buffed to a rosy sheen by selective forgetfulness. This ache then, this homesickness, stems from elsewhere. Could it be that we are most nostalgic for a home we have never known? Could it be that our ache has more to do with hope than memory? The people of God have always looked back on the goodness of God's past provision and found resource for faith in those stories. But those stories, no matter how good, are mere shadows of the provision to come. When Jesus looked back on time spent with his dear friend Lazarus, he wept. And then he imagined in hope, called Lazarus from the grave, and proved for all time that even death cannot prevent us getting home.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Gather together in the name of the Lord.
We gather to praise what the Lord has done.

Pray together in the name of the Lord.
We gather to praise what the Lord has done.

Worship the God of unfailing love, the God of Abraham and David.
We gather to praise what the Lord has done.

Meditate on his mighty deeds and consider the beauty of his works.
We gather to praise what the Lord has done.

Sing of God’s great miracles, raise up your hands and hearts.
We gather to praise what the Lord has done.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Heavenly Father, we confess that we are a people of revisionist histories and rose colored glasses. We prefer what is already known rather than walking in trust wherever you lead.
Forgive us, Lord. Teach us to trust your faithfulness.

We are quick to tell ourselves the narrative of what was, yet we are slow to look forward and hope in the Lord’s unfailing love.
Help us, Lord. Open our eyes to your steadfastness.

How often we pity our current condition, how often we forget God’s goodness, the great works he has done.
Forgive us, Lord. Remind us of your miracles.

In our distress, we think ourselves abandoned and cast out. We remember only that we have been saved before, but forget who did the saving.
Help us, Lord. Humble us, so that we may be sustained by your love.

But you, Lord, never abandon us. You are our rescuer. You are steadfast in your love for us, faithful in your care of us, guiding us with unseen hands, weaving the story of this world for your glory.
Lord, we are grateful receivers of your mercy and love. Amen.

- authored by Cassandra Fowler