There’s a scene in “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in which Denethor, the steward of Gondor, asks Pippen the hobbit to sing him a song of the Shire while he mindlessly eats. Pippen tries to refuse, saying he had no songs fits for great halls and lords of men. Denethor scowels at Pippen, saying, “And what makes your songs unfit for my halls? Come! Sing me a song.” Pippen then sings the following song (which, I believe, was shot in one take and moved the crew to tears):
It’s tough to sing a song about home when it seems so far away. Look at what the author of Psalm 137 writes in Psalm 137:1-6,
1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion! 4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy!
I deal with tragedy on a daily basis. I talk with people who are dying, some who aren’t at home. For some, it is impossible for them to see any hope in their situation. This is true, even for people of faith. In the midst of their circumstance, they’ve “forgotten Jerusalem.” My job is simply to bring light into darkness. Sometimes it is through verbal encouragement. Sometimes it is simply through sitting with someone silently. Whatever it is, my job is to help them “remember Jerusalem” again.
All of us will go through times when Psalm 137 could be our theme song. We will know people that Psalm 137 describes exactly. What will our response be? I fear that much of American Christianity doesn’t equip people to deal with tragedy or help others deal with tragedy. As I heard this morning, we often concentrate so hard on the blessings of Christ that we forget the price we may have to pay.
It is comforting to know that no matter how far away from “home” we feel, God is always there–even when we don’t feel like it. In those times, we must intentionally “look toward Jerusalem.”