A Song of Ascents. Of David.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 131 (ESV)
This may be your first semester or eighth semester, last semester or first school year, or first year in the public library setting. An anxious heart can come with each semester, whether your first or last year. The shock usually happens within minutes of your first or last book to catalog; first or last proxy stanza; first or last information literacy class; first or last children’s or adult program. Then you start thinking about all the stuff on your calendar, events involving church, sports, or music. At this point you are having internal conversations with yourself. When the boss, patron, co-worker gets your attention in a brief second, a calmness comes over you, given by God. Psalm 131 provides three wonderful verses to quiet and calm our being.
As you read and hear Psalm 131, it brings a sense of relief. From the beginning, David comes to pray to the Lord, humbled and submissive. Identify the activities that precipitate anxious thoughts: visiting hospitals, presenting in front of people, original cataloging, reading programs to children, driving in the city. As we prepare for the New Year and new semester let us come humbly and submissively before the Lord. During the semester, read this Psalm stanza by stanza, and start meditating on these verses when feeling anxious. Meditate on these verses: “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up … But I quieted and calmed my soul” (131:1-2). The Lord cares for His children as a mother cares for a new born child. There are bonds between a mother and her children. As we draw closer to the Lord, the bond between us strengthens. In verse three David reminds us that our hope in the Lord should last forevermore. His steadfast love never ceases; we can trust in Him. In the midst of the first, middle, or last semester or year, the Lord brings calmness rather than chaos. He wants to orchestrate your steps while you are in a life of yards and yards of noisy disarray. Knowing you are a child of God provides that peace in the first, middle, and last things.
Almighty God, thank you for your faithfulness to us. Forgive us in our unfaithfulness towards you. We are grateful for your mercy and grace. We request guidance from the Holy Spirit so that we may stay calm amid chaos. Thank you for the opportunity to celebrate our hope in Christ and we pray we continue to be true followers of Christ. Thank you for creating, forgiving, and loving us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Craig serves as Systems Librarian at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. He has been an ACL member since 2014.