Psalm 107: A Kite Dancing in a Hurricane
Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Verbs. They accomplish things. They move things along. They reverse things. They give life. They kill. They carry great power. In today’s Psalm, they tell the story. They create the narrative, even in these few verses. In case you didn’t notice, we have a donut text today. We get
the first two verses of the Psalm and then jump down and grab another section of the Psalm later on. There is a hole in between that sadly is not filled with jelly or cream. At first, I was very confused why we didn’t just start at verse 17, but upon further reflection, this donut provides us with the necessary frame for what is in between. By including these first two verses, our reading today is bookended by praise and adoration for God. Contained within these first two and last two verses are declarations that God is good, God is our redeemer, God’s mercy endures forever, God’s love is steadfast, and God’s works are wonderful.
These verses are important for what is contained in between them paints a picture of
lament, pain, suffering, and hurt. The Psalmist wants us to remember that bookending them is God. These words are contained within the reaches of God. How do we know this to be true? Let’s look at the verbs that the Psalmist employs here. The Lord is good. God’s mercy endures forever. In verse 21, there are implied ‘to-be’ verbs which proclaim that the Lord’s love is steadfast, and works are wonderful. These verbs declare things. They don’t require anything at all from us. We don’t have to think, move, speak, or do anything. They are independent of us. That is the God we are dealing with here. That is the God that envelopes all that is to come. God requires nothing from us to be good, steadfast, or wonderful. God just is.
There’s a common saying that was employed in the latest Bond movie, Spectre. Mr.
White, a friend and foe of Bond gives Bond some needed intel to continue on his mission. But before Bond leaves, Mr. White seizes the chance to warn Bond what he is getting himself into if he continues on this journey. Mr. White says, “You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond.” This quote immediately came to mind as I reflected on this middle section of the Psalm. The image this quote paints is haunting. One the one hand, dancing usually evokes peaceful feelings and images. On the other, a hurricane usually does not. And throw a kite in there and well I get all sorts of confused. But this image creates a crash and tension between these things and leaves me wondering which will win. What does this image stir up for you?
This image helps paint a picture of what the Psalmist is conveying to us today. When
describing a trying time for the people of Israel, the Psalmist laments how many took rebellious paths. They loathed food. They drew near to death’s door. They cried to the Lord. These successive verses create a feeling of being in a storm where everything is all of a sudden going haywire and wrong. These words, and especially the verbs, create feeling. So now, as I re-read the words that are employed, I invite you to consider what feelings and images come to your mind. Took rebellious paths. Loathed all manner of food. Drew near death’s door. These verbs here, in contrast to the aforementioned verbs used at the beginning and end, require action from us. They are not stationary. We are the ones who took, loathed, drew. There is no activity from God here, rather we are acting independent of God. We are moving and acting away from God. We try and take things into our own hands. And because of these things, which the Psalmist calls sins, we become afflicted. What verbs are moving you away from God? What verbs are drawing you to sin?
As we are drawn into and left to ponder these questions by the Psalmist, we are once
again given more declarations. We are healed and rescued. These verbs declare truths and require nothing from us. They are completely passive verbs. Someone who is healed can’t do the healing. Someone who is rescued can’t rescue themselves. This begs a question...
So, what are we rescued from and who is the one who rescues? The Psalmist here makes
no bones about it. We are rescued from the grave. We are rescued from death. We are rescued from the deepest, darkest places and things we can think of. We are rescued as kites dancing in the middle of a hurricane. How can the Psalmist make such a bold claim? How are we rescued? Well, that is because God is the one who rescues. And how does God rescue you and me? Jesus of Nazareth: God who became flesh and walked among us. Jesus gained the full understanding of what it means to be a human being. Of what it means to rebel. To be afflicted. To loath. To cry. To feel like a kite dancing in a hurricane. A hurricane of depression, loneliness, abuse, addiction, hate, bigotry, racism, injustice. A hurricane that seems to never end. A hurricane that feels insurmountable where the winds keep increasing and the waves keep coming. Jesus knows what that feels like. Jesus gets it. Jesus knows what it means when we have to keep trying to dance like a kite through it. And Jesus died for it. Jesus died for me and for you. So that when we are in the midst of our own hurricanes, when we feel like we are drawing near to death’s door, we know we have nothing to fear because Jesus conquered death. Jesus feared death so we don’t have to. Jesus died so that when we take, loathe, or draw, when we sin, we don’t have to become
afflicted from it.
You see, kites only work when there is someone flying them. A kite is no longer a kite if it does not have a string connecting it back to someone flying it. Someone anchoring it. Someone to pick and sew it up when it comes crashing back down to earth. Someone to wash it, re-string it, and throw it back up into the wind so that it can dance again. For us, for you, for me...that someone is Jesus. Jesus steadies, guides, heals, cleans, leads, and rescues us. When we get knocked out of the sky by a gust of wind, when we take an unexpected dive or turn, when we fail to launch, when we fail to trust that the other end of our lines will always be held on to, Jesus is right there to pick us back up and throw us right back into the sky so that we can dance again. And when we inevitably find ourselves dancing in the next hurricane, Jesus will surely be there too. Jesus never lets go of those lines. Jesus, the steadfast one, keeps holding on. And thanks be to God for that!