By the end of the day today, according to our Year with the Bible reading schedule, we’ll have read 89 of the 150 psalms. Many times we’ve encountered a place called Sheol. Sheol is a vision of what happens after death. Our vision of heaven and hell are not contained in a vision of Sheol. Sheol isn’t a half-way part or a way point until people end up with God or not. Sheol, instead, is a wasteland where all end up. It’s dark, lonely, and silent. When Sheol is described in scripture, it is without possibilities. Everyone there feels like they’re waiting for something to happen. But since the people are dead, nothing will happen. Those who live in Sheol wait, and wait, and wait, for something that never comes.
For the author of Psalm 63, that silence is the epitome of life in Sheol. Silence is a firm description of what death is all about. This psalm is a trust psalm where the author longs for God’s presence. The author trusts that God is present and loves the author. The author has experienced God, felt God in their lives, and cannot stop talking about God. For this author, to be with God is to speak about God. To speak about God is to experience life and opportunity. A life with God is a life of words, sounds, and music. A life without God is a life that will only end in permanent silence.
The author of Psalm 63 is not saying that silence is bad but they are encouraging us to share. To trust God is to trust that we matter to God and God is active in our lives. When we experience God or see God active in someone (or something) else, we’re called to share that with others. We’re called to share our experiences of faith. These experiences are gifts from God that can do more than just nourish our relationship with God. By sharing these experiences, we can bring God and God’s love to someone who needs it.
Each week, I write a reflection on one of our scripture readings for the week. This is from Christ Lutheran Church’s Worship Bulletin for 6/26/2016.