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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 65

Praise is due to you,
   O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
   O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
   you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
   to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
   your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
   O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
   and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
   you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
   the roaring of their waves,
   the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it,
   you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
   you provide the people with grain,
   for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
   settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
   and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
   your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
   the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
   the valleys deck themselves with grain,
   they shout and sing together for joy.

Reflection
As Andy McGaan noted in his August 7 devotion, Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann— who will be joining us as guest preacher at Fourth Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 25—devises three categories for the psalms: Psalms of Orientation, Psalms of Disorientation, and Psalms of New Orientation. This past May, you may remember that Shannon Kershner preached on Psalm 22. She spoke about how we can find the greatest of joy through our ability to lament, or through a Psalm of Disorientation. Brueggemann categorizes Psalm 65 as a Psalm of New Orientation.

Given this mild and somewhat rainy Chicago summer, I can’t help but notice the bright colors that still remain around the city, a long-awaited new orientation after a cold spring and winter. There are still flowers blooming into early August. Growing up in the state of Iowa, I remember many summers when the lawns were already burnt severe shades of yellows and browns from a hot July sun.

Despite our faith and what we believe, all people share in God’s creation on this earth. Psalm 65 points out the inner dialogue between God, creation, and each of us. Being delivered from our transgressions, or the moments in our lives where we weren’t at our best or seeking our greatest potential, is like the rebirth of the plants at spring. It’s a cyclical process where, with patience and hope, the flowers deadened by winter come back again. Take some time this summer and notice the little things outdoors that God has put in your path to remind you that God’s love flows abundantly and bountifully.

Prayer
Gracious God, may we continually see your love present in full abundance all around us, in all seasons, in all people, and in your earth, sea, and sky. Amen.

Written by Mark Eldred, Coordinator for Worship and Adult Education


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