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Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Out of the depths I cry to you;
O Lord God, hear me calling.
Incline your ear to my distress
in spite of my rebelling.
Do not regard my sinful deeds.
Send me the grace my spirit needs;
without it I am nothing.
“Out of the Depths” (v. 1) by Martin Luther
Hymn 424, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal
I don’t know about you, but there have been a number of times in my life when I have been filled with fear and felt desperate if not complete despair. These have been the times I have cried out to the Lord for help. This hymn and the psalm from which it originates powerfully describe a particular interaction with God. As I read and reread this brief passage, I am struck by how perfectly it captures the mystery and the miracle of human and Divine.
Then I realized that this is the way music also embodies the unity of human beings and God, especially through vocals and instruments. In listening to the London Philharmonic Orchestra perform, Mahalia Jackson since, and finally a guitar solo play this hymn, the raw authenticity of seeking God’s help and forgiveness became clear to me. I am nothing without God’s grace, and the reassurance of these words means everything. Parker Palmer sums it up this way: “I see myself in You | I see You in myself.” When sung in harmony, the miracle of the Holy Spirit washes over me. Listen to the music, and I think you’ll feel what I am talking about.
Out of the depths of my soul, Lord, I ask for your unfailing love and compassion toward all of us, and I am eternally grateful for all the ways I am reminded of your love. Amen.
Written by Elise Magers, Assistant Director, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being
Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church
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