Congregation at Duke Chapel

Sackcloth

photo of Carol

Psalm 30 is filled with joy and thanksgiving. It ends with these verses:

          You have turned my mourning into dancing;
             you have taken off my sackcloth
             and clothed me with joy,
          so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
             O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever. (Psalm 30:11-12)

By God’s grace, the sackcloth, the garment that represents grief, despair, and repentance, is cast aside and the speaker is now dressed in joy. The one who had been weighed down is now up and dancing. The psalmist then declares his praise of God, and further claims this as his vocation. The psalmist will give thanks to God forever; it is his life’s work.

Some of us are in a season of life in which we can easily join the psalmist in joyful dancing, giving thanks to God for all God’s mercies. Some of us need these verses to give us hope that there will be a time when we too can rejoice. The psalmist has given testimony to the reversal in his life which God provided and uses that as an invitation to others to join in thanksgiving. Through this psalm we are called to give thanks to God for what God has already done, for what God will do in the future, and/or for what God has done in the lives of others. So no matter the season of our lives, we have reason to dance with joy.

Let us give thanks to God forever.

Carol