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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 102
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
     let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me
     in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
     answer me speedily in the day when I call.

For my days pass away like smoke,
     and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
     I am too wasted to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
     my bones cling to my skin.
I am like an owl of the wilderness,
     like a little owl of the waste places.
I lie awake;
     I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
All day long my enemies taunt me;
     those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread,
     and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger;
     for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
My days are like an evening shadow;
     I wither away like grass.

But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever;
     your name endures to all generations.
You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
     for it is time to favor it;
     the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold its stones dear,
     and have pity on its dust.
The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
     and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the Lord will build up Zion;
     he will appear in his glory.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
     and will not despise their prayer.

Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
     so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord:
that he looked down from his holy height,
     from heaven the Lord looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
     to set free those who were doomed to die;
so that the name of the Lord may be declared in Zion,
     and his praise in Jerusalem,
when peoples gather together,
     and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.

He has broken my strength in midcourse;
     he has shortened my days.

“O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
     at the mid-point of my life,
you whose years endure
     throughout all generations.”

Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
     and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you endure;
     they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
     but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall live secure;
     their offspring shall be established in your presence. (NRSV)

“I am like an owl of the wilderness, like a little owl of the waste places. I lie awake: I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.”

A little owl of the waste places. A lonely bird on the housetop. Sitting awake at night, when there’s nothing to do about the things that worry us, those things that seem so huge, out there in the darkness . . . don’t we all know how that feels?

Big worries. The psalmist is worried about health, as we all do at some point, particularly as we get older, worried about the time left to him on the earth. And how can God, the Eternal, appreciate the dread that time can put on those of us who live under the ticking clock? How often do we ask for just a little more time?

“My days disappear like smoke. . . . My days are like a shadow soon gone. . . . God, do not take me away in the prime of life, your years go on from one generation to the next.”

The things that keep you up at night.

The truth is, time is as limited for the young as for the old. None of us knows how much we have, and we’d all like just a little more. We worry about what we are going to leave behind, who will take care of our families and loved ones? At the end, sitting awake and alone in whatever darkness surrounds us, all we have is a prayer:

“Let your servant’s children live safe; let your servants’ descendants live secure in your presence.”

Lord, we are always in your hands, though we only occasionally remember it. Please grant me knowledge of your eternal presence, and grant me peace and rest in you. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Fine Arts Coordinator

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