Anyone who finds himself a hostage of circumstance can feel fellowship with the writer of Psalm 137, who, with his friends, was held captive in ancient babylon. He mourned: "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept , when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song . . . . How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" n1
n1 Psalms 137:1 -- 4.
The Hebrew captives looked back longingly upon Zion, their homeland. They may have felt singing the Lord's song outside Zion would desecrate it. But interpreted as state of mind rather than a historical locality, Zion stands for spiritual strength, n2 derived from the omnipressent God. And can anyone ever really be separated from what is always available?
n2 See Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 599 .
Which of us has not tasted of captivity in Babylon? Which of us, if he would not live hismortallife in subjection to the gloom that proliferates from a mortal sense of self, is not required to sing songs in Babylon?
Like the Psalmist, however, we may find ourselves unwittingly lamenting the very act that would directly free us --joyous praise of God's goodness. How, indeed, shall we "sing the Lord's song" in hostile surroundings?
We can silently, gratefully acknowledge that our true selfhood, reflecting God, resides always in a Zion of spiritual understanding and is never oppressed or desecrated by a Babylon of mortal, material belief. Strength, not subjection , is native to the real, spiritual man, the man of God's creating.
God is just somem power, he is allm power, ever with us. God is Love itself. Pure and unalloyed Love allows no conspiracy of hatred. Love capacitates no prison of doubt; it tolerates no enslavement of conscience. That which is all-inclusive good permits no evil. It is Love's inescapable necessity to be All-in-all.
The valiant struggle to be grateful always for ever-present Love, even in the face of apparent defeat, combines with cheerful expectation to form a prayer of praise that carries within itself the seeds of release. Through prayerful acknowledgment of God's omnipresence -- through spiritual psalm-singing -- we win deliverance from despair. And more. By exercising the understanding that unfolds through faith we realize the victory promised by Isaiah: "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." n3
n3 Isaiah 35:10.
Christ, the Truth Jesus taught and practiced, enables thought to soar above the evidence of the deceitful material senses into realization of that eternal, immortal selfhood that never leaves heaven. Mary Baker Eddy, for years held hostage by a frail body and impoverished circumstances, incessantly searched for release that she gradually realized could come only through spiritual means. In her discovery and practice of Christian Science, she won a freedom she had not known before. She writes: "Mounting higher, mortals will cease to be mortal. Christ will have 'led captivity captive,' and immortality will have been brought to light." n4
n4 The First Church of Christ, Scientists, and Miscellany,m p. 110.
The gratification of self-will is no test of our spiritual mettle. Only the true Christian can sing when others weep -- sing not only because God deserves praise but because it is natural for one to sing in Babylon, in Zion, or wherever he is.God, good, is demonstrably everywhere.
No one should experience adversity without raising a protest of some kind. and if that protest be a prayer of praise, deliverance will come. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. Psalms 30:2-4