When we are filled with righteous indignation at the injustices perpetrated in a fallen world, what praise songs are sufficient? When a gunman has just sprayed a class of seven-year-olds with bullets; when a jihadist has just blown himself up in a crowded market; when unborn children are ripped apart in their mothers’ wombs for no other reason than their existence is an inconvenience to the social life of the mother—what songs can we sing that can keep pace with our emotions?
I was reminded of it over these past weeks while reading of how the world and the Church have responded to the killing of George Floyd. Where can we find the vocabulary to pray about injustice? Here in the UK this week the government at Westminster voted to allow abortion for non-fatal foetal abnormalities in Northern Ireland, in spite of the fact that the majority of politicians in the Northern Ireland Assembly (who are supposed to have the authority to legislate on this issue) opposed it. A baby can now be legally ripped apart in their mother’s womb simply because he or she has Down’s Syndrome, a cleft palate or lip, or clubfoot. At a time when that same government’s slogan has been ‘Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ and their imposing of stringent measures to keep safe those most vulnerable to covid-19, it is more than a little sickening to see their utter disregard for the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.
We ought to feel righteous indignation and anger in the face of these and a thousand other daily kinds of evil. But how do we express our outrage in a God-honouring way? When our emotions are running high, it’s all too easy for our tongues to run away with us and for us to say too much. Here too we need the psalms.