Friday, June 14, 2013
a theology of sighing
On Thursday, as a staff team, we gathered for our weekly prayer. I was intrigued by the opening verse of the Psalm for the day:
Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing. Psalm 5:1
Perhaps because I’ve become aware, suddenly, in the last week, that one of the children in Team Taylor sighs exactly like one of their parents. It’s uncanny. Perhaps, because I’ve found myself sighing quite a few times in the last week. Perhaps because, at the start of winter, in the last week of a semester, I’ve heard a number of the team, well, sigh.
So, we paused at “sighing.”
And we asked each other – what are you currently sighing over? Together we heard a wide range of life events. There was some good sighing. And some sad sighing. And some worried sighing. With a candle lit to remind us of God’s presence, it was a rich time. As part of the time, one of our team offered a reflection from their ministry practice.
“Sometimes when I sit with people and hear their story, the only response seems to be sighing. To sit in the silence and sigh. It’s the most appropriate, Christ-like, pastoral response.”
A theology of sighing. People sigh. In Psalm 5, God is asked to hear those sighs. In Mark 7, Jesus looks to heaven and sighs deeply. Only in the gospel of Mark is it mentioned that Jesus sighed. More remarkably, Mark uses two different forms of the verb in
this passage. It is an act of deep empathy and prayer. Being in ministry is thus to sigh with the sighing. Pastoral prayer is sighing.
So I’m off for the weekend. To sigh – to God, through Jesus.
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