Singing "the Lord's song"

The contrast between joy and sorrow, between the things one holds sacred and those one considers wicked, between freedom and slavery, are strikingly and pathetically portrayed in the one hundred and thirty-seventh Psalm. There the Hebrews in captivity bewail their condition: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?"

Since those ancient times many of us have sat "by the rivers of Babylon," in conditions of thought, strange, dark, and foreboding, and believed that happiness has flown forever. Perhaps, as it has seemed to us, health has broken down, home ties have been dissolved, the savings of years swept away, or unemployment and dependency have faced us. How natural it then has seemed to hang "our harps upon the willows" of our woe, to cease the expression of joy, to draw down the window shades and hush the children's voices! "The Lord's song" has seemed some far-off echo of happier days. Should we ever sing it again with gladness? And at such times we have found that "the Lord's song" has much in it we never found in sunnier days: such depths of understanding and sympathy; such measureless love and comfort; such faith, hope, and inspiration; such expectancy of good; such nearness to God! Perhaps we may not be able to voice the words, but the heart can sing its spiritual melodies though the head be bowed, and "make channels for the streams" of Love's overflowing bountifulness.

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The Joy of Discovery
March 5, 1932
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