Psalm 30: 1-12

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  • "Will the Dust Praise You?": Theologizing Death

    by John Boopalan
    In the 10th episode of season 5 of the much-and-rightly-acclaimed television series Queen Sugar, Nova, a Black writer and journalist, researches a police-involved brutality that affected 19-year-old Andre, a Black boy. Little does Nova realize that it is her boyfriend, Calvin, a rookie police officer at the time of the brutality, who out of fear of having a fall out with his fellow white police officers, decides to join in on the brutal beating and strikes Andre with such force that it permanently paralyzes Andre. Many years pass by, Calvin is no longer with the force, and he is even portrayed as a better man whose past is behind him. But Andre’s pain and suffering are real and ongoing. When Nova interviews Andre, he shares that it is Calvin who literally broke his back. Nova is heart-broken and comes home to confront Calvin. Nova and Calvin are sitting on either side of the table. The audience can hear the needle of the clock ticking and the sound of papers shuffling as Nova looks for a picture of Andre to show Calvin to confront him. Nova reaches for the picture of Andre and pushes it to Calvin’s side. Calvin’s eyes look away from Nova’s face and point downwards to look at Andre’s picture. The moment Calvin’s eyes make contact with Andre’s image, the background sounds die, and the sound of the ticking clock stops. There is dead silence. Time itself stops moving. It is a powerful scene. The audience is left with nothing but a heavy and lingering grief...
  • Exegesis (Psalm 30)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Proper 8B (2021)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 8B)(2021)

    by Scott Hoezee
    As I have noted before in other sermon commentary articles here on the CEP website, there is a poignant moment in the play and film Shadowlands, the story of C.S. Lewis’s late-in-life romance and marriage with the American Joy Davidman. Joy is the love of Lewis’s life but she also has a cancer that they both know will take her life sooner rather than later. Lewis had a hard time grappling with the cancer and was often minded to downplay it or try to ignore it. But at one point Joy tells her husband that the sorrow that will come later was part of the joy they had in being together for now. “That’s the deal” Joy says. Joy and sorrow have this quirky connection in which paradoxically the presence of the sorrow enhances the joy. And that is something the psalmist of Psalm 30 seems to have known about.
  • Psalm 30 (2021)

    by Stephanie Lobdell

Resources from 2019 and 2020

  • Mourning to Morning

    by Bill Carter
    In December 1988, the world almost lost Dave Brubeck. Yes, that Dave Brubeck, the world-famous jazz musician. He was having a series of heart episodes and under the care of a cardiologist named Lawrence Cohen. Dave kept putting off bypass surgery because of his concert schedule, but the delay was not doing him any favors. Finally, Dr. Cohen ordered him to a hospital in Connecticut. The night before the surgery, Dr. Cohen stopped in to see his world-famous patient. It was 10:30 at night, and the cardiologist walked in to discover Brubeck with music manuscript paper scattered all over his bed. He was writing a piece of music because he couldn't sleep. Dr. Cohen said, "What are you doing? It's the night before your surgery!" Dave looked up and said, "I'm writing out one of your psalms. What can you do, Lord? Can the dust praise Thee if you put me down in the pit? And joy will come in the morning.'" Psalm 30. The next day, the surgery went well, and months later, Dave took Dr. Cohen to the premiere of the piece. It was a large-scale composition for choir and orchestra called, "Joy Comes in the Morning." Brubeck dedicated the piece to his cardiologist. And at one point in the performance, Brubeck began to smirk. Suddenly Dr. Cohen realized why - Dave had created a bass line for the piece from a transcription of his own irregular heartbeat. Right in the middle of the performance, both of them laughed out loud...
  • Proper 9C (2019)

    by Jen Chapman
  • Easter 3C (2019)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Sermon Starters (Easter 4C)(2019)

    by Scott Hoezee
    It is, of course, not exactly a full-throated proclamation of Gospel hope but in his own oblique way Tolkien helps us to see what hope beyond death may look like in this scene from the Peter Jackson version of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” as Pippin contemplates what looks to be his impending death only to have the wizard Gandalf point him toward a better hope.
  • Easter 3C (2019)

    by Bobby Morris
  • Finding Joy

    by Dave Russell
    In preparation for this sermon, I turned to that great source of Biblical interpretation and Christian commentary – ESPN films. I hesitate to use a sports reference more than once in a sermon, but I’m making an exception today. There is an ESPN series called “Basketball: A Love Story.” What a beautiful title, right? Well, it has a lot of has to do with the history of basketball. It’s filled with stories of friendship and sacrifice and a lot of cultural commentary, not simply sports per se. One segment got my attention. It looked into what basketball coaches felt when their team won a championship. Was it joy, or was it more like relief? It was surprising how many said “relief.”...
  • Easter 3C (2019)

    by Richard Swanson

Resources from 2016 to 2018

  • God Is Our Helper

    by Bob Cornwall
    Henri Nouwen learned much about suffering and joy during his ministry with the Daybreak community. He offers this word of insight that draws from this Psalm: Mourning makes us poor; it powerfully reminds us of our smallness. But it is precisely here, in that pain or poverty or awkwardness, that the Dancer invites us to rise up and take the first steps. For in our suffering, not apart from it, Jesus enters our sadness, takes us by the hand, pulls us gently up to stand, and invites us to dance. We find the way to pray, as the psalmist did, “You have turned my mourning into dancing” (Ps. 30:11), because at the center of our grief we find the grace of God.
  • Easter 3C (2016)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Proper 8B (2018)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Narrative Lectionary Podcast (2017)

    with Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester and Kathryn Schifferdecker
  • Easter 3C (2016)

    by Stan Mast
    Just when we thought Rocky Balboa had shuffled off this mortal coil, he’s back in a new movie called, “Creed.” In my less than sanctified state, I loved those bloody tributes to the underdog who rose up from apparent defeat to vanquish the invincible foe. It was thrilling to see Rocky dancing in victory on the stairway. There is something to admire in those who will not quit.
  • Easter 3C (2016)

    by Eric Mathis
  • Proper 5C (2016)

    by J. Clinton McCann
  • Proper 8B (2018)

    by Carolyn Sharp

Resources from 2012 to 2015

Resources from the Archives

Children's Resources