In Babylon?

“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.”

There are some fine versions of this old negro spiritual on the internet.

I was asked on Sunday, incidentally, how Mothers Day was for me. It struck me then that although I had been aware of the day through all the advertising and though I was aware that various relatives would be celebrating with their families I had not really given any thought to my own mother who died quite some years ago now.

I don’t know why. There are occasions when I think of her still. They rarely make me sad.

I will see her again. My father and sister too.

I am glad of these memories. I often feel refreshed by them and quite happily get back to whatever is at hand.

For the people of God in Babylon there was deep regret at the loss of Jerusalem.

Probably it was worse for knowing that they had brought this separation on themselves.

Jeremiah had warned them. God had said he would banish from them “the sounds of joy and gladness” and he did.

When they remembered Zion, they wept, and asked “How can we sing the songs of the LORD in a foreign land?”

Sometimes I feel like I’m in Babylon.

Paul wrote about a similar experience in 2 Corinthians 5:1,2 when he described us as “groaning’ to be clothed with our “house which is from heaven”.

He encouraged the Christians in Corinth with the assurance that God had sealed his promise to them with the gift of his Spirit.

I hope they were also able to read his letter to the Ephesians.

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19, 20.

Sometimes we may feel lost in Babylon because of failures in faith; sometimes through the opposition from the world that faithfulness brings.

Sometimes grief or illness is the cause.

The Psalms are the songs of men who knew what it was to suffer in these ways but also to rejoice in confidence in God, their Rock, their fortress and their strength.

We may receive grace to sing them too; even in Babylon.

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