“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.” Psalm 40:1-3
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.
Yesterday our churches were flooded with Easter crowds ready to offer praise to the resurrected One. Dresses were colorful, bowties were patterned, and our shoes matched the Easter lilies adorning the sanctuary. The sermon was moving, songs were vibrant, and we shouted, “Alleluia!”
Many sang the new song of praise. Many saw, feared, and put their trust in God.
Easter is the feel-good moment of the church year and the “many” show up.
But Easter is not the beginning of the story. The hymn of praise is not found at the beginning of the psalm. The new song only comes in verse 3.
The song of praise only arises after patiently waiting. The song of joy only erupts after our tears. The song of trust only comes after trudging through the mud.
Six weeks ago our heads were smeared with a mud-like ash and we remembered that we are dust and to dust we will return. In these forty days we spent time examining the dust and mud of the swampy mire that pulls on our souls. But our slimy-pit-reflections made us want to hear the hollow popping noise that our feet would make as the suction of the mire was broken and our feet were finally lifted from the swamp’s stronghold. That hollow pop is the new song of praise for which we patiently waited. Alleluia for muddy feet finally freed to find a new foothold on the rock!
Waiting to sing a new song is tough. No one can convince us that the mud and mire make for good experiences. But living in slimy pits can make clean rocks feel that much sweeter.
Yesterday we emerged from Lent to celebrate Easter. Our souls popped from mired to merry, from cries to carnival, from repentance to resurrection. Yesterday we found the joy of participating in Christ’s resurrection just as we had participated in his suffering throughout Lent.
Today, may left-over Easter candies help you find the sweetness of your waiting to celebrate the resurrection. May the transition from your Lenten reflection to Easter Alleluia produce for you new praise, new sight, and new trust in the God of resurrection.
Meredith Stone is instructor of Christian ministry and scripture and director of ministry guidance at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon School of Theology. She lives in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and two really fun daughters.