A Song of Tears, Laughter and Hope
TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Prayer of the Day: Eternal light, shine in our hearts. Eternal wisdom, scatter the darkness of our ignorance. Eternal compassion, have mercy on us. Turn us to seek your face, and enable us to reflect your goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves. Psalm 126:5-6.
The old hymn, “Bringing in the Sheaves” was written by American author, evangelist and composer of gospel hymns Knowles Shaw. It was inspired by the words of this Sunday’s psalm. (For a fuller analysis of the psalm itself, see my Post for Sunday, March 13, 2016) It is also probably the first piece of sacred music I ever heard. The hymn was a favorite of my mother. She used to sing it frequently when going about her work around the house. That is, in fact, one of my earliest memories of her. I recall trying to sing along, thinking all the time that the refrain “bringing in the sheaves” was actually “bringing in the sheets.” It made sense to me because that was a good part of what Mom did on any given day. Although we had a decrepit washing machine in our basement, we did not own a drier and could not afford one. So, in order to minimize trips to the laundromat, Mom would make liberal use of our cloths line where she hung our freshly washed laundry out to dry. Quite naturally, I assumed that Mom was singing about the work she was actually doing.
Maybe I was not so far off the mark. Read more