“I will sing of your steadfast love,
O LORD, forever…
LORD, where is your steadfast love of old…?”
(Psalm 89:1, 49)
The paradox of the psalmist is where I sit this morning, a lengthy prayer as song, which begins and ends at two very different places. I find assurance that there is a divine love and mercy and kindness that greets us new every morning. The Hebrew word, chesed, has been the hope God’s people have clung to, tight-knuckled, for generations on end. In the midst of their own battles with injustice, oppression, and vile incarnations of power and privilege, they found ways to sing and dance and work towards shalom. And we will, too. God is faithful.
But this morning, the ending of the Psalm 89 has become more like what used to happen when a record skipped or the CD was scratched. The question of absence is stuck on loop. Where is the steadfast love of God to carry us forward?
I am daring to find it in those mental icons of the virtual and socially distant prayer vigils of this past week, where the people of God affirmed we are stronger together than apart- that a better way is possible. I am meditating on the steadfast, loving kindness found in poll workers who volunteered and continue to labor so every vote is counted. I am setting my mind on the faithfulness of God that transcends generations. This prophetic fidelity was embodied by youth at the middle school turned election site, who shared with me that their #BlackLivesMatter swag ran out within the first hour the polls were open. They were still there at 1 o’clock to advocate for their cause. I am finding chesed in the pastors, social workers, community organizers, peacemakers, and all those who refuse to quit until liberty and justice are truly available for all. This was not going to happen, despite our wildest imaginations, on a single calendar day marked for the general election. The four centuries of American --isms will not be undone in one cycle through 24. But, if we lean into the steadfastness of God’s love and justice, which are the foundations of God’s way in the world (89:14), we just may see greater movement towards equity and compassion within our lifetime. At least that is my hope and prayer.
But I still have my questions. And friends, on the other side of a long day and night, be kind to yourselves if you do, too. After all, questions are the most ancient of prayers. We will need them for the marathon ahead.