A Psalm for All Seasons (including Lent)
Psalm 90 has been and is one of the most profound meditations in the Bible and in human history. It is about Time and Eternity. We don’t ponder this kind of mystery very often, unless we must. We are more often driven by deadlines (curious term—DEAD lines) than not, and Sabbath is a rarity these days.
The Psalm begins with a trust that through Time and beyond it, God is our dwelling place. That’s something to remember and to pray, especially when we are having a stressful Time, a day or a night which feels like it will never end, but also when we are able to look back at decades and remember people and occasions which to our minds seem as if they were only a week or a month ago. I have long resonated with the sentiments of Henry David Thoreau, writing from Walden Pond where he lived in a hut from 1845 until 1847: “Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky whose bottom is pebbly with stars.”
Psalm 90 concludes with a very bold intercession: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us, yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it.”