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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, October 26, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 65

Praise is due to you,
   O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
   O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
   you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
   to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
   your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
   O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
   and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
   you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
   the roaring of their waves,
   the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it,
   you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
   you provide the people with grain,
   for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
   settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
   and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
   your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
   the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
   the valleys deck themselves with grain,
   they shout and sing together for joy. (NRSV)

Do you ever wonder how the psalms came about? Was the psalmist a court poet who wrote the lyrics for songs sung at worship? Or was he, like many of us, a poet wannabe who jotted snips and snaps of life experience and then compiled them into longer pieces? Or was he King David, with a scribe at the ready to take down the pearls from his lips? We don’t know how they came to be. But what is quite clear to me is that this psalm reaches for the music of the spheres. It is as if the psalmist cannot contain the wonder and majesty of nature. He stands on the rim of the eternal.

In my own life there have been times when the light of the Creator has shown so exquisitely that the moment seized me and I found myself standing on such a rim. One of those moments was when I was four years old. I remember sitting with my dad on a hot summer night on our porch in Iowa. The stars were shimmering in the sky. I remember looking up and suddenly they shone with a radiance that I could not take in. I said to my dad something like, “Look, Daddy, the sky is on fire.” He did not see what I was seeing. But at that moment the thought came to me as clearly as if it happened last night, “How could anyone not believe in God?” I held that big thought in my little heart, and it has held me through many rough patches and riotous awakenings.

In looking into the expanse of the heavens or into the eyes of a newborn child or stumbling across a flourishing garden’ we resemble the psalmist. We won’t let the light dim or the shrinking heart diminish what simply is so vast, so shimmering that we can’t help but sing it this day!

Great and wondrous God, give us a psalm to sing this day, a “joyful, joyful we adore thee” song. And even more, sing through us in every encounter with our kin, friends, creation, colleagues. For you, O Holy One, have flung the stars and held the child’s eye. Thank you. Amen.

Written by Lucy Forster-Smith, Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education

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