Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Preparing for the second Sunday after Epiphany - Psalm 40:1-11

Psalm 40:1-11 For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. 4 Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. 5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. 6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. 7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll. 8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." 9 I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly. 11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me.

David speaks; God hears.  God acts; David sings.  David testifies; David asks for more mercy.  And so the story goes.  The children of God speak, God listens and acts.  The children of God sing songs and praise God.  They bear witness to the mighty acts that God has done in their midst and in telling their stories, they see a little more clearly what it is that God desires for them.  Then, as if they were afraid that there would never be enough or that their portion has run out, they cry for God's mercy, love and protection once again.  A familiar pattern that we have seen throughout the ages.

Take, for instance, the Hebrews - their stories of oppression, golden calves, angst about meat and water - every one of their teaching moments could quite possibly be defined by the above pattern.  Yay, we are free from Egypt!  God give us meat, for at least in Egypt we ate meat!  God thank you for your deliverance and the parting of the Red Sea.  God, we can't wait on Moses to come down with rules so we will just make a few of our own...how do you like our cow?

Luke A. Powery and Willie Jennings says it this way:

"The sounds of praise reveal God our creator.  They are never inconsequential words.  They expose the character of God as faithful and caring, always suitable for anthropomorphic gesture: God leans over with a hand cupping the ear, listening to his creatures.  And then God speaks yet again, and then the hearer is compelled to speak.  The hearer-turned-speaker is a vital part of an epiphany, the revealing (Abingdon Theological Companion to the Lectionary - Year A, pg 48)."

So I'm just wondering this morning, what is being revealed to you about God and God's faithfulness as we participate thousands of years later in this hearer-turned-speaker type of revealing that occurs when we praise God and testify to his acts in our midst?

I would love it if you would share your stories and comments in the appropriate section below.

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