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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, July 17, 2017

Today’s Scripture 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. (NRSV)

“Your wagon tracks overflow with richness.”

The Sherer family farm was sold in the late 1970s, but I remember the well-worn wagon tracks from a century or more of farming that land. The beaten grooves in the land created by those wagon tracks were actually dangerous to walk over. It was certainly difficult for any plants to survive in those harshly abused paths, but the psalmist writing Psalm 65 has the hope that even “your wagon tracks overflow with richness.” That is a lot of hope for ground taking a lot of beating down.

We all face personal challenges of one kind or another, but no matter what the challenge, we can trust in God’s everlasting and loving embrace. God is always there with us. Trusting in God’s love, we can face those challenges with more confidence and hope, and even wagon tracks will overflow with richness.

Nearly thirty years ago I visited the concentration camp in Dachau, Germany, and I have never forgotten the story about one of the Jewish prisoners in that camp. He had never seen a condensation trail from a jet flying overhead until he had entered Dachau. Because he did not know what those “con” trails were , or even what a jet was, he viewed each one of these floating lines in the sky as a sign from God that everything was going to be alright. Living in the deep wagon tracks of Dachau, seeing those white lines in the blue sky produced a hope and assurance of overflowing richness. Holding on to this hope and trust is what he said got him through even the darkness of Dachau.

Hopefully none of us face a challenge as great as that prisoner in Dachau, but as we face our own challenges we should never give up hope in God’s love. God’s love is always there: above, below, ahead, and behind—all around us.

Ever-loving God, I thank you for embracing and holding me, even in the greatest challenges. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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