Welcome to Daily SPARC – each weekday our chaplains, friends from the Penn Religious Communities Council and other voices from campus will be posting messages of support and encouragement.

Today’s message is from Peter Ndaita, Campus Minister of CCOJubilee at Penn:

Songs for the dark night of the soul

In the past two months, I have been reading and recommending the Psalter to family and friends. The Psalms can be a healing balm to troubled souls in trying times. Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk, said,

“The human heart is like a ship on a stormy sea driven by winds blowing from all corners of heaven. The Book of Psalms is full of heartfelt utterances made during such storms…In them you can see into the hearts of saints as if you were looking at a lovely pleasure-garden or were gazing into heaven. How fair and charming and delightful are the flowers you will find there.”

So, during this time of social distancing, consider the Psalter. Below is one whose charm continues to warm my heart. The writer laments for he is discouraged, lonely and far from his spiritual community. Yet, he is relentless in hope. Lament to know hope.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
 My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42: 1-5)