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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 136

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
     for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
     for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
  for his steadfast love endures forever;

who alone does great wonders,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
      for his steadfast love endures forever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
who made the great lights,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;

who struck Egypt through their firstborn,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
and brought Israel out from among them,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
who divided the Red Sea in two,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
who led his people through the wilderness,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
who struck down great kings,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
and killed famous kings,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
and Og, king of Bashan,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
and gave their land as a heritage,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
a heritage to his servant Israel,
     for his steadfast love endures forever.

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
     for his steadfast love endures forever;
who gives food to all flesh,
     for his steadfast love endures forever.

O give thanks to the God of heaven,
     for his steadfast love endures forever. (NRSV)


Reflection

People of faith are an odd bunch. First, we are people, so we grasp for certainties. At a time of great uncertainty in my life, a pastor taught me to name one thing of which I was certain. “I am certain that I have warm shoes to wear.” Or, “I am certain that if I call my friend she will talk to me.” No matter how small the certainty, it steadied me.

But we are also of faith. To be “of faith” is not simply to acknowledge great mystery, to cautiously point a finger at it from across the room. To be “of faith” is to step out onto the mysterious and know it will either hold our weight or catch us when we fall.

Psalm 136 nurtures our trust in the mysterious by immersing us in the wonder of all God is and has done in human history. Give thanks to God who does great wonders! God’s love endures forever! With a mighty hand and outstretched arm, God’s love endures forever!

Physician and patient Rachel Naomi Remen writes, “I used to try to offer people certainty in times which were not at all certain and could not be made certain. I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder.”

I believe that as we mature in our relationship with God, we require less certainty and become more strengthened by mystery than anything else we have ever experienced. In the way of circles, mystery and certainty become indistinguishable as we rise up in the Grace of God.


Prayer

Dear God, many of my days seem ordinary, tiring, forgettable. Help me to grow in a discipline of wonder so I might bask in the mystery of your presence in my life and in my world. I will give thanks to you for your love endures forever. Amen.


Written by Patty Jenkins, Director, Center for Life and Learning


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