Psalm 31:9–16 (NRSV)
Verse 9Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.
Verse 10For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.
Verse 11I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
Verse 12I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
Verse 13For I hear the whispering of many terror all around! as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
Verse 14But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God."
Verse 15My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Verse 16Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
We all struggle with loneliness. This has been evident during the pandemic, especially for many of our senior citizens. They often go days without meaningful human contact. The sense of isolation grows and they begin to feel life is without meaning or purpose. It has been heartening to see the way many families and congregations have found ways to reach out to those who are alone with meals, “safe” visits, and words of comfort.
Our reading from Psalm 31 foreshadows the loneliness of Jesus on the cross. He is scorned and rejected. The disciples abandon him. The religious and civil authorities condemn him. The soldiers taunt and torture him. Let’s not forget that we are there, too. We cast him aside and leave him utterly alone. Our sin ultimately kills him. But loneliness and death do not get the final word. God’s steadfast love does. Jesus is raised from the dead. In God’s crazy logic, the empty tomb is not a lonely place but a scene of triumph.
Merciful Lord, you know how we struggle with loneliness. Fill us with the power of the crucified and risen Christ that we might comfort others who feel forgotten and alone. Amen.