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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, January 11, 2021  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name;
worship the Lord in holy splendor.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace! (NRSV)

Some of my favorite moments take place in a way that defies scheduling. When I am able to travel to our cottage in the village of Ephraim, Wisconsin, during warmer weather, I watch for cloud formations that signal a coming storm. Hopefully I am securely situated under the overhang of the roof above the high deck.

First, I hear the faint, rumbling resonance of distant thunder, echoing over miles of Green Bay and Lake Michigan waters. Then the wind picks up until it is bending surrounding treetops in seemingly impossible poses. As the wind roars through the trees, I see flashes of fire in the sky, lightning piercing the shadowy clouds, accompanied by the ever-increasing volume of the thunder. The sudden wind-driven downpour drives me inside the nearby glass doors, where I seek protection.

The storm arrives overhead with flashes of lightning almost immediately followed by fortissimo blasts of thunder that seem to shake the surrounding structure. And then the storm continues on its path, the lightning moving toward the far horizon, the thunder following at increasing gaps of time. Soon there is a sudden sense of quiet, as rays of sunlight break through the clouds.

After all nature’s special effects have concluded, it is then, in the rediscovered quiet, that I experience a deep peace in the presence of the Holy One. Our loving God holds me secure, despite the sights and sounds of the tumult that threaten to overwhelm me.

Sovereign God, who reigns in deep peace amidst the turbulence all about and within me, help me to focus not on the tumult, however spectacular, but on your unending peaceful presence with me on this fragile, gifted journey you have granted me; through Christ, the Lord of life. Amen.

Written by Jeff Doane, Parish Associate for Older Adults

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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