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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, February 9, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 1

Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish. (NRSV)

In Psalm 1, a person rooted in the word and ways of God is likened to a tree that is planted by streams of water and grows to become a thriving, productive tree. Extending the arboreal analogy, imagine many such trees planted by streams of water. They might be part of a riparian buffer zone, providing other vital benefits. A quick Google suggests that riparian buffers help keep stream water clean by filtering sediment and pollutants from runoff. Riparian trees help stabilize land and reduce erosion. In times of torrential rain and flooding, their steadfast stand slows the speed of a flooding stream, and their roots soak up excess water to reduce the volume of a damaging deluge. They provide habitat and food for wildlife, and their canopy shade helps maintain livable water temperatures for aquatic creatures therein.

Such a riparian vision surfaces in Ezekiel 47:7–12: “Everything will live where the river goes . . . and on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

From a single tree to a healthy riparian buffer, I am reminded that we are part of each other’s spiritual environment and a broader, intergenerational “ecology” of faith. I am thankful for the Psalm 1 trees in my life.

“As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).

Dear God, thank you for your word, your creation, and your church. Please revive and grow us for the care and building up of those around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by Jeanette Chung, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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