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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 139:1–18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
   O LORD, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
   it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
   Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
   if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
   and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
   and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
   and the light around me become night,”
   even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.

For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
   Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
   My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
   all the days that were formed for me,
   when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
   I come to the end—I am still with you. (NRSV)

More than I would like to admit I find myself having conversations with God that are similar to this psalm. These intimate words flow gracefully from the page straight to God. But when I say things like this to God, they are nowhere near this graceful. They are often said with the feeling of knowing that I would love to get away from God’s prying presence once and a while.

The psalmist writes these words as a way to recognize God’s omnipresence; God is always there. Sometimes I feel as though I am a teenager again, trying to escape the prying eyes of my parents. Instead, it is the presence of God that I try to hide from--each time I look away from someone experiencing homelessness or when I don’t have time to listen because of my busy day or when I simply don’t want to be reminded of how I could be a better disciple. I want God to go away whenever I am cognizant of my own flaws. Like a teenager trying to hide from the prying eyes of my parents, I try to hide from God when I am not at my best.

While God’s omnipresence is clear in these words, so is God’s grace. There is nothing secret, good or bad, yet here is God. There is nothing that God does not know, and yet here we are, still with God. God did not abandon us even when we were not at our best, and God is still there when we try to hide. As the psalmist knows, we remain with God, and God with us. Thanks be to God for this.

God, you created us to be the best version of ourselves. We don’t always live into that; in fact, many times we fall short. But we know that even when we fall short, you are still there with us, in the good and in the bad. Remind us of this as we move about our day. Amen.

Written by Shelley Donaldson, Senior High and Confirmation Youth Coordinator

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