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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 114   

When Israel went out from Egypt,
   the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
   Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled;
   Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
   the hills like lambs.

Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
   O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams?
  O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
  at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
   the flint into a spring of water. (NRSV)

The saying “Know the rules well enough to break them effectively” is a rule I learned years ago at a Godly Play training and have invoked countless times since. I think the psalmist knew it too.

Godly Play is a Montessori-style method of telling Bible stories to children that is both rigorous and distinct in its approach. Stories are memorized by the teacher, for one thing, who never once looks at a book or paper throughout the telling. Each word, each phrase of the curriculum’s stories is carefully chosen and revised. It contains gems that I will never forget.

“You only go into the desert if you have to.”

“The people walked through the water to freedom.”

“Know the rules well enough to break them effectively” means you should do exactly as the method prescribes the vast majority of the time, so that, when you don’t, people notice.

It’s hard not to notice the rules of narrative the psalmist is breaking in telling the Exodus story in Psalm 114. The audience knows this story, but we don’t know it like this. We don’t know it from the perspective of the sea and the mountains.

We do now though.

We thank you, O God, for the story you have been writing from the beginning: of people called and sent, heard and rescued, of even rocks and flint enlisted by your redeeming purpose. Shape us by that story; put it in our hearts and on our lips, so that all creation might hear it and might be saved by it. Amen.

Written by Rocky Supinger, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry

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