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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, October 1, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
   yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world.
In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
   which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
   and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them;
   and nothing is hid from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
   the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
   the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
   the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
   the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever;
   the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
   sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
   do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (NRSV)

This psalm seems to be a mashup of sorts. The first part is an ode to creation, the second shifts into instruction, and the third part is a prayer. It might be easy to assume sloppy editing on the part of ancient proofreaders. However, there is a thread woven among the three parts: it’s how we come to know God.

Like many of you, I’ve used this COVID period to spend more time in nature through neighborhood walks. I’ve noticed God’s playful creativity in the Gerber daisies and pesky crabgrass, through prehistoric-looking cicadas and the boundless energy of my neighbors’ dogs. Less scheduled evening activities have allowed me to search the skies and notice the motley sunset colors and how the night sky gets deeper without so much light pollution. There is a wisdom to be gained from paying attention. I’m not the first to say this, but until now I’ve been a slow adopter of this adage.

This summer’s racial reckoning has me searching our sacred text to know God’s desire for justice. The unjust system built over the last four hundred years has been propped up by our religious institutions, and I’ve been wrestling with my complicity. I know God through studying the Bible’s words about confession, dismantling, and rebuilding.

Finally, I know God through prayer. In our time of uncertainty and fear, I’ve spent a lot more time listening for the voice of God. Oh sure, I still have plenty of requests, but more often than ever before I’ve ran out of words and instead have been silently listening for God.

Now more than ever I’m thankful for the mashup of how God can be known by us.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.

Written by Andrea Denney, Executive Director of Operational Ministries

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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