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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:97–120
Oh, how I love your law!
     It is my meditation all day long.
Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
     for it is always with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
     for your decrees are my meditation.
I understand more than the aged,
     for I keep your precepts.
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
     in order to keep your word.
I do not turn away from your ordinances,
     for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
     sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
     therefore I hate every false way.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
     and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
     to observe your righteous ordinances.
I am severely afflicted;
     give me life, O Lord, according to your word.
Accept my offerings of praise, O Lord,
     and teach me your ordinances.
I hold my life in my hand continually,
     but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
     but I do not stray from your precepts.
Your decrees are my heritage forever;
     they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes
     forever, to the end.

I hate the double-minded,
     but I love your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield;
     I hope in your word.
Go away from me, you evildoers,
     that I may keep the commandments of my God.
Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
     and let me not be put to shame in my hope.
Hold me up, that I may be safe
     and have regard for your statutes continually.
You spurn all who go astray from your statutes;
     for their cunning is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth you count as dross;
     therefore I love your decrees.
My flesh trembles for fear of you,
     and I am afraid of your judgments. (NRSV)

“Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey.”

Those words bring vividly to mind for me the bookmarked Bibles and worn hymnals I have that were once my great-grandparents’, my grandparents’. They resonate with images of those who brought me up in the faith, who nurtured that faith in me by word and, even more profoundly, by example, by their deep and abiding commitment to and reliance on the word of God. By their living that word and following that light.

“Before my feet, for my journey” we are reminded. It is for our living, our doing, our being, this word of God. Not simply for the reading and pondering, quoting and preaching, but for our journey, our movements along life’s way. We are, after all, says James, to be doers of the word, not hearers only.

But it is also not only about the journey. It is about a journey illuminated and guided by that light. It is about our call and commitment to do that reading and pondering, learning and studying so that that word might be our lamp, our strength and shield, our bedrock, the very foundation for how it is that we live our lives. It is about being guided by that word so that, with all the saints, our lives too might confess the name of Jesus, the love of God, and the Lord of our life.

For the gift of your word and for all those who have nurtured me in it, I give thanks, O Lord. May your word be always a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey. May it so shape my living that all I say and do and am might bear witness to you, my rock, my fortress, and my might. Amen.

Written by Ann Rehfeldt, Director of Communications

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