As we approach Lent, the beautiful hymn “By the Waters of Babylon” is sung at Orthodox services and starts to set the tone for the season in which we cultivate “joy-creating sorrow.”
By the waters 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; and they that wasted us
required of us mirth, saying,
Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
Thou tellest my wanderings:
put thou my tears into thy bottle:
are they not in thy book?
The LORD preserveth the simple:
I was brought low, and he helped me.
Return unto thy rest, O my soul;
for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.
For thou hast delivered my soul from death,
mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.