Written at a Quiet Day: ‘Retreat into the Psalms’: 19.3.22:
A Lament based on Psalm 23
When reading Psalms, we, in the UK read them against the background of this time of long peace (since 1945) which must be one of the longest peace periods in the terrain of any country on record: we are very blessed. But this makes it impossible to even begin to imagine what it is like to be terrorised by armed aggressors and have to flee for your life. Something so traumatic, so terrifying, so appalling must surely justify even one of the most comforting of Psalms being turned into a Lament. Here is an inevitably inexperienced attempt at Lament for the people of Ukraine and every other battle zone of this sad world, where evil forces innocent people to forsake everything with which they are familiar, to survive.
I dedicate this to the people of Ukraine – and pray for miracles for them.
A Lament based on Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd:
But the wolf has chased me from green pastures
and I am in a wilderness;
a place without water,
a place without comfort,
a place of terror for me and my lambs.
I shall not want:
But I do want.
I want to be taken home without the menace
of tanks and missiles
and invading forces.
He makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters:
I have had to forsake
all the green pastures I have ever known
as I flee for my life and my children’s lives.
Neither are there any still waters
In this surging, chaotic tempest.
He restores my soul:
Nothing, but nothing can restore
my soul in its anguish –
even the kindness of strangers
who do what they can to help from day to day.
I need the light of the Lord
to penetrate this,
the darkest night of my soul;
my night of bitter tears.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness:
But I am chased with my fellow refugees
into the murderous swamps of evil
and despondency because of those
who wish us harm.
For His Names sake:
I have called.
My companions have called on you Lord:
but it is as if you are deaf to our calls.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
I am full of fear
for my life,
for the lives of my children
and my children’s children:
for our assailants
kill us indiscriminately
and I feel as if you are absent.
For you are with me, Your rod and staff comfort me.
I am as a lamb
abandoned by my shepherd.
Your rod and Your staff
give me little comfort
against the armaments
that are flung against me
and my companions of the moment,
as each bleak minute
follows each bleak minute.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
I long for the abundance of a feast
in the presence of my enemies;
but they would have me starve to death.
I long to see the fruits of my home country
feeding my own people
in their homes and in their fields.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
O mighty God, who delights in peace and justice,
Restore, soon, our homes,
restore our communities
and bring the mighty gift of shalom back into our land,
which the Enemy
has so wilfully destroyed.
Trevor Thorn: March 2022.
A PDF Version to download for printing can be found HERE
In Ukrainian by Google Translation
Another Prayer for Ukraine can be found at Sennacherib 2022