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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 19:1-6

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
   and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
   their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
   and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
   and its circuit to the end of them;
   and nothing is hid from its heat. (NRSV)

The word true has been bouncing around my head for the last week. It’s a lusciously elastic word, though most of the time it’s used as an adjective to indicate something which conforms to reality. But I’ve been thinking about it as a verb, as in “to true a wheel” (a trip to the bike shop began this whole line of thinking). To use true as a verb like that means “to make level, square, balanced . . . or restore to a desired mechanical accuracy or form” (Merriam-Webster).

Psalm 19 proves a useful instrument in doing that same job when my soul is out of true. (True can also be used like that, as a noun.) What can get it back in line? Sometimes it can be the beauty of water or light or color or sky: beauty so profound that it goes beyond language. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament declares God’s handiwork.” That glory humbles, reminds me of my role as creature not Creator. Equally humbling is God’s law, as expressed in scripture, sermon, book, conversation, or contemplation. The law, or word, of God is powerful enough to poke holes in my pride and reveal what I am blind to in myself. It will (and does) “detect failings and cleanse me of my unknown faults.” Delicate and tricky work, this. But God is a master mechanic and knows which tool to use for which job. And afterwards, the ride is so much smoother.

True my heart, O God, so that the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before you. Amen.

Written by Susan Quaintance, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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