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Friday, July 1, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 42

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
   for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
   the face of God?
My tears have been my food
   day and night,
while people say to me continually,
   “Where is your God?”

These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because the enemy oppresses me?”
As with a deadly wound in my body,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
“Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God. (NRSV)

Reflection
There have been times in my journey of faith when it seemed as though God was everywhere! Right in my face. If I had a dream during the night, it was as though God was talking directly to me in that dream. When I heard a song, there was always something of God smack dab in the middle of the lyrics. An interaction, a visit from someone I barely knew, a synchronicity of some sort—flares of the divine were going off all around me. For the most part, even when it was scary, it was wonderful.

But there have been those dry times. Those are the times when I could have been the psalmist writing : “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”

I have found myself of late wondering about the course of my spirituality. Why are the flares of the divine fewer and farther between? Am I doing something wrong? Not spending enough time—in prayer, in scripture, in quiet? Or is the fact that my spirituality has changed simply a normal part of the journey of faith? I suspect it is, but I still long for the flares of the divine to go off as frequently as they once did. The psalmist must have longed for this, too, but is reminded to remember those times when God seemed so close. “These things I remember, as I pour out my soul, how I went with the throng and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving.” That’s what I must do in those longing times—remember when the flares of the divine were going off so regularly and to trust that it will happen again.

Prayer
God of every minute of my life, help me to hope in you, trust that I will praise you again, and remember that you have been my help and my God. Amen.

Written by Judith L. Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care


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