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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 139:1–6, 13–18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
   O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
   and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
   it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
   Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
   My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
   all the days that were formed for me,
   when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
   I come to the end—I am still with you. (NRSV)

Reflection
Human beings crave connection. Peer-reviewed studies continue to show evidence that people in committed relationships live longer, that involvement in a faith community or social organization can reduce health problems, and that even pet ownership makes us measurably healthier over time. We yearn for relationship; we want to be known. Yet we so often fear letting others in. If they only knew what I’m really like, we worry, there’s no way they’d want to be my friend if they knew my story.

Our teen years are particularly fraught with these worries—at least mine certainly were. As a nerdy music geek, I was ostracized far more often than included. I remember finding this psalm for the first time during those years, when my loneliness and rejection was at its most painful, through a songwriter’s hidden track reimagining: “You search me, you know me. You see my every move. There’s nothing I could ever do to hide myself from you. You know my thoughts, my fears and hurts, my weaknesses and my pride. You know what I am going through, and how I feel inside, . . . But even though you know, you will always love me. Even though you know, you’ll never let me go. I don’t deserve this love, but you give it freely. You will always love me, even though you know.” I felt at the time that Rebecca St. James had reached into my soul and heard me (yes, I’m a ’90s kid), but in fact, David’s psalm had.

God knows. God has known since before we took our first breath, and God loves us through that true all-knowing. It’s vulnerable to open ourselves to be truly and wholly known, yet God does and God loves us in all of our vulnerability and brokenness. What a gift.

Prayer
All-knowing, unfathomably-loving God, thank you. Thank you for truly knowing me. Thank you for truly loving me. Help me live in that freeing love, to be open to truly love others. Amen.

Written by Sarah van der Ploeg, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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