Category Archives: Psalms

The Place you make your home

Sparrow

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How lovely is the place you make your home,
How lovely, O Beloved!
My soul aches, it keens with desire
To sit in your presence
My heart and my very flesh singing for joy
To you, the God who is Alive!

And even for this little brown bird a home
A nest for herself, made in your house
Where her young are fed
At the very altars of the Almighty
At the dwelling place of the King

Happy is she who lives with you
Who nests with you, singing your praise!

She is happy and strong with your strength
For in her very heart is the pathway
The road going home.
So that when she walks through the wilderness
Living waters gush forth
The rain comes with her footsteps
With her comes the God of gods

O Beloved, hear my prayer
Listen to me, O God of Miriam,
Of Esther, of Naomi!
Be my covering, O God,
Look on the face of one you anointed!

For better is one day in your house
Trusting in your favour,
Your honour
Your generous love
Than thousands elsewhere

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I wrote a bit yesterday about Psalm 139 – The Inescapable God – and how God can almost feel too much (too much light – even the darkness is not dark to you, too much knowledge – how weighty are your thoughts, how vast the sum of them, too much comfort – You hem me in behind and before.)

And the big one:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

ammonite

I went away last year to the Living Waters Discipleship week (read more). One of the things we were asked to do right near the beginning was to say that line – I am fearfully and wonderfully made – out loud. About ourselves. And I wanted to. I love that line. I love telling people that line if they are hurting and in need of comfort. I affirm with all my heart that God makes each one of us and makes us beautiful, unique, worthy. I wanted to say it for myself too.  But I couldn’t. The words got stuck in my throat. I couldn’t say it because on some deep level I didn’t believe it. Honestly, I felt uncomfortable. I felt ashamed. I wanted to run away.

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The Inescapable God

At my church we are in the middle of a month-long worship series called “Honest to God”. In it we take an honest look at the whole gamut of human emotions, from anger and despair to praise, comfort and justice. We are using the Psalms as a resource for expressing our deepest feelings – towards ourselves, towards God and towards each other.

It was my turn to preach last Sunday and I landed with Comfort. I chose Psalm 139, sometimes called “The Inescapable God.” It is one of my favourites and so I approached it with slight trepidation, remembering the time I chose my favourite Neruda poem (oh, go read it, it is stunning!) for a presentation to my seminar class in second year Spanish and the lecturer completely trashed my reading of it, spoiling it for me for years…but reading Psalm 139 in the light of where I’m at and with the desire to speak to others of God’s inexhaustible – inescapable – comfort was nothing like that. It was how I remembered it – heart-stoppingly compelling. Gut wrenchingly beautiful. Comforting almost to the point of being unbearable.

my meditations

(Photo credit: katie licht)

You see, God pursues us. The Psalmist – David –  wants to run away from God, God who is too much for him, too much light, too much knowledge, too much comfort. He wants to run away to the heights, to the depths, to the far corners of the world, even to Sheol, that is, the deepest pit. He wants to hide under the cover of darkness. He wants to say “God, I am NOT fearfully and wonderfully made”. But God does not give up the search. God is there in all of those places. Even the darkness is not dark when God is present in it.

God knows us. God has “searched us and known us” (Ps 139). The Hebrew word for “search”here is a word that suggests searching by digging deep underground – like looking for hidden treasure. God sees our worth when we don’t. God sees our worth when other people can’t. God sees our worth even when it is buried underneath layers of earth and scar tissue. In another Psalm David writes “even if my mother and father forsake me, God will take me up”.  The Amplified Bible gives alternate meanings here: God will take me up, will adopt me as a child, will carry me. God will hold me.

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