How could we sing a song of the Lord in a foreign land? (Psalm 137:4)
The Exile was a time of mourning for the people of Judah. It was a time when the songs of Zion were silenced and replaced by lamentation and the wailings of a nation bereaved of her children. Isn’t this the image given to us in the Lamentations — of Jerusalem personified as a widow mourning the loss of husband and children?
Psalm 137 expresses Judah’s sadness in exile. Here, a devotee — perhaps a temple singer? — refuses to sing the celebrative songs of Zion in Babylon. He vows that he would never forget Jerusalem nor place anything as his delight above it.
Christian life is a sojourner’s life. We are travelling through history towards our heavenly homeland. Here, we do not find our repose. There, in the presence of God, is our rest and our delight. Here, we “use” — as Augustine would say — there, we “enjoy”. Here, we live by faith, hope and love. There, faith and hope will give way to knowledge, possession and delight.
Lord, teach my heart not to be attached to this passing world. Guide me that I may know how to use the goods offered by this world as stepping stones towards the goal of this life’s journey. Amen.
Listen to Don Mclean’s By the Waters of Babylon
For the day’s readings go to Your Daily Inspiration.