Students sitting outside Bockman
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

In New Orleans, among other southern communities, brass bands have a traditional role in funerals. In The Music of Black Americans: A History, Eileen Southern wrote, "On the way to the cemetery it was customary for the band to play a dirge very slowly and mournfully ... but on the way back the band would strike up a lively spiritual." This practice mirrors Psalm 30 and God's ability to turn our mourning into dancing. The trumpets heralding God's glory resound even in the face of death. In the promise of Christ Jesus, Sheol cannot shut us in, weeping does not linger and the dark night of the soul meets the dawning day. In Christ, the brass band's dirge is transformed into a jazzy march that moves us to sway to the Spirit. Casting off the sackcloth of death, we are people clothed in the life and love of Christ forever. So, shall we dance?

God of the dance, your spiritual music rings out in our lives and in the world. Give us the courage to trust your lead so that our souls made silent by the tomb may now sing your loud praise, marching to resurrection's beat. Amen.

Justin Lind-Ayres
Augsburg College Campus Ministry, Minneapolis
Master of Divinity , 2003

Psalm 30 (NRSV)

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, "I shall never be moved."
7 By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:
9 "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!"
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.