Good morning! In the seven psalms we have today (42-48), we cover the range of human emotions from desperate longing to confident praise for divine intervention. We also find some of the most beautiful and loving lines of Scripture in this passage.
Community United Church of Christ (St. Paul Park, Minnesota)
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 4:1-15
Yesterday my great-uncle and great-aunt—Ralph and Lois—celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They live in Coon Rapids, and are members of First Congregational UCC in Anoka. Lois and Ralph are both retired teachers, and they make retirement look good! They are healthy in body and soul, take in all manner of cultural experiences, and travel regularly to see their many friends. They just completed a move to independent living, wisely preparing for the day when they may need more care. They’ve stayed close enough to remain active members of their church, the League of Women Voters, and other community organizations. At fifty years together and going strong, Ralph and Lois went out last night to a fancy restaurant in downtown Saint Paul to celebrate. There is a cascade of light to give thanks for in their life together.
Good morning! Today in Psalms 37-41 we close out the first of five “books” within the Psalms. These five songs (whose music is unknown) read in the current order like a conversation Job might have had with his friends. They capture well the vacillation between confidence and despair that is so normal in the life of faith.
Good morning! All of today’s psalms (33-36) underscore a central theme: God protects the righteous, and no enemy will be able to withstand God’s power. Some of these psalms make one suspect that Job’s friends would say the same thing, but unlike them the psalmist gives no hint of being “better than” or “holier-than-thou”. While David (or perhaps another author) does wish harm on his foes, the psalms point instead to God as a most righteous and merciful deliverer.
Good morning! Today’s passage (Psalms 27-32) contains a number of psalms that proclaim confidence in God’s deliverance, even in the most challenging times. God hears and responds to cries for help, and the best that humans can do in response is offer our gratitude.
Good morning! I’m glad we are finding ways to traverse the Psalms with one another, doing what feels right in the way of taking them a little at a time or reading them all at the same setting. I encourage you to make the most out of them however it works best for you. Today we have Psalms 21-26, but I’m going to focus mostly on just two of them, Psalms 22 and 23.
Good morning! We continue today in the section of the psalms attributed to King David. With chapters 17-20, we again encounter all the emotions of human beings, including joyful victory, awe in the presence of creation, and desire for unholy vindication. The Psalms truly do capture the worst and the best of human sentiment.
Good morning! Today’s seven psalms (9-16) are a wealth of human emotion. I’m inclined to read them slowly, lovingly, in the manner that people have been reading the psalms for countless years. I’ll keep my reflection brief today so that you can enjoy a little more time with each psalm, savoring it like a piece of dark chocolate passed from tongue to cheek and back again.
Good morning! Today we start the book of Psalms, which has been the songbook of the Jewish and Christian tradition for millennia. These ancient poems capture all aspects of human emotion—including some very ugly desires—in songs to God. Millions of people read the psalms each day, and I have no doubt that some of the psalms are particularly meaningful for you. As we read a number of psalms each day, rest assured that I’m not planning to comment extensively on each one! I’ll point out significant themes or verses, and look to you for sharing those psalms which are meaningful to you, and why.
Good morning! Yesterday I wrote about three stages of faith according to Brian McLaren’s “Naked Spirituality”—Simplicity, Complexity, and Perplexity. Job and his friends demonstrate these stages, and today in Job 38-42 we *finally* hear God’s response to Job. One way to describe the wisdom in it is with McLaren’s fourth stage, Harmony.