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Mourning doesn't last; morning always comes

January 17, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 30:5-12

5 His anger lasts for only a second,
but his favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may stay all night,
but by morning, joy!
6 When I was comfortable, I said,
“I will never stumble.”
7 Because it pleased you, LORD,
you made me a strong mountain.
But then you hid your presence.
I was terrified.
8 I cried out to you, LORD.
I begged my LORD for mercy:
9 “What is to be gained by my spilled blood,
by my going down into the pit?
Does dust thank you?
Does it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 LORD, listen and have mercy on me!
LORD, be my helper!”
11 You changed my mourning into dancing.
You took off my funeral clothes
and dressed me up in joy
12 so that my whole being
might sing praises to you and never stop.
LORD, my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

As our country remembers the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this week’s GPS is built around six short quotations Dr. King might have used on social media (had it been available in his day) and their Biblical roots.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

On November 13, 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled bus segregation unconstitutional. Dr. King recalled, “I read…’The United States Supreme Court today unanimously ruled bus segregation unconstitutional in Montgomery, Alabama’…. The dawn will come….’Weeping may endure for a night,’ says the Psalmist, ‘but joy cometh in the morning.’” * Dr. King’s focus, like the psalmist’s, was on how God’s people could draw strength from recalling times when mourning had turned to joy.

  • Scholar Donald Williams wrote, “In [the psalmist’s] illness there has been weeping, the sense of God’s absence, and mourning. Now…the healing of God has turned sorrow into joy.” ** Difficult times can make God feel absent even for people of faith. (Don’t forget Jesus quoting Psalm 22:1 on the cross.) We sometimes use the phrase “God showed up” to describe times of recovery and restoration. How does joy in our lives grow from God’s presence with us?
  • Dr. King went on to say, “This faith adjourns the assemblies of hopelessness and brings new light into the dark chambers of pessimism.” * Can you remember “dawn” times in the world’s history, or your country’s history? How about in your own life? How fully can you resist hopelessness and pessimism and look forward to God bringing a joyous morning to our world?

Lord, when I face hard times where “weeping may stay all night,” I thank you that the worst thing is never the last thing. In the end you always have and always will turn sorrow into joy. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Denise Mersmann

Denise Mersmann

Denise serves as the Care Coordination Director for the churchwide Care Central department at Resurrection.

Full disclosure-–I am a huge fan of social media. The daily screen time Pastor Adam has mentioned does not shock me at all. In fact, to be honest, it feels a little low. My phone is the tool I use to communicate with family and friends, take care of email, follow several news sources, read books, and so much more.

That said, while I realize my phone is a great tool for a lot of my day-to-day communication, there are times when it just doesn’t do the trick. No matter how handy it is to send a quick text or drop a comment into a chat, nothing replaces the importance of truly talking with someone. Even if those conversations can’t take place in person, voice inflection, tone, and content are so critical, and nothing says “you matter to me” more than stopping what you are doing to focus on speaking with someone when they need us.

As I think back on the darkest times of my life, one thing stands out to me. When I was lost, overwhelmed, and brokenhearted, it was the people in my life who helped me see God’s presence. Those friends and family members who showed up at our door, brought meals, came to visitations and funerals, took me out for lunch, filled my sudden and unwanted free time-–they were truly the hands and feet of Christ. They helped me see the light in the midst of my darkness.

But what does that have to do with social media? Two things immediately come to mind:

First, as I mentioned, I spend a lot of time on social media. Some of that is necessary, but a decent amount of that time is far from critical. It fills time that definitely could be used more constructively. Perhaps instead of scrolling mindlessly through Tik Tok, that time would be better used to call a friend–see how they are doing, grab dinner or go chat in a coffee shop. Maybe inviting a few people for a game night or dinner in our home. Maybe writing a note to someone, with a pen on paper, and mailing it to bring a little joy to their mailbox.

Second, I think social media can become a crutch, an easy way out. It’s really easy to read someone’s struggle on social media, see their post about going through something or being in the middle of a challenge and drop a nice heart emoji or some praying hands. But that doesn’t replace a genuine message, it doesn’t fill the gap, and it certainly doesn’t open a conversation that allows the person to share all that is going on. I mean, haven’t we all posted something that we needed to talk about, but just didn’t know how to open the conversation or who would be the best person to share with, and suddenly we are notified that we have 127 responses? Only to find that of the 127, 120 are emojis or a single word reply? And, let’s be honest, that little “like” or thumbs-up just doesn’t communicate very much.

So, what does all that mean for us? I’m not suggesting that you ditch your social media, and I won’t even challenge you to cut back on your screen time. I will, however, suggest this . . . the next time you see a post from someone in your circle, instead of hitting that “like” button or sending that cute little smiley face emoji, take a minute and call that person. Tell them you saw their post and just wanted to chat. It’s an easy opening-–if it’s a post about how great their kids are (which covers most of mine), ask about the kids, share a memory you have of their family. If it’s something else they are celebrating, schedule a time to get together to truly hear all about it. If the post isn’t all sunshine and butterflies, call and invite them to dinner and let them know you are there for them regardless of what they are going through.

You see, social media isn’t good or bad. Like almost anything else in our lives, it will be exactly what we make it. It’s up to us to use it to be the hands and feet of Christ and to help show the joy that comes when we look for it.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by James M. Washington. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1986, p. 504.

** Donald Williams, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 13: Psalms 1–72. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986, p. 239.