Saturday, May 21, 2016

Psalm 67

A few weeks ago the scripture reading at our Taize service was Psalm 67.

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known upon earth,your saving power among all nations.
Let the people praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
 and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Truth is, I should have written my thoughts at the moment because I remember the passage resonating with me. Three weeks later, though, I don't remember exactly what I was thinking.

I like the reference to music teachers. But, I doubt that was it. I'm writing as there is a massive game of hide and seek happening around me. So you can say I am distracted and not thinking about praising God.

This passage was read at a Taize service, which means there was no sermon to go with it, only silence to reflect upon it. Silence, which is not happening in the house right now.

I do remember being drawn to the thought of ALL the peoples praising God. Everyone. In harmony. In agreement. In joy. Everyone being blessed, which is in contrast to the Revelations passage that was also read at the same service (see below). In that passage it says 
But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abominations of falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Fortunately the judge of what is "unclean" and what are "abominations of falsehood" is someone who also blesses us and wants us to "sing with joy." It is not my place, nor yours, to cast judgement. God has freed us from that role so we can praise and worship Him.

So what would such harmony look like? What can I do to encourage such harmony in the world? 

The corresponding New Testament reading was Revelations 21:10, 21:22-22:5
And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day -- and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abominations of falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
To repeat ... "nothing accursed will be found there any more." Healing will take place for all of the nations. What a lovely thought! After having seen the Northern Lights, a part of me would be sad if there was no more night. I am not a huge fan of night (especially in the bleak midwinter), nor do I doubt God will continue to find ways to amaze us as He shows us His glory, but change (even good change) can be scary. "Its gates will never be shut by day" reminds me of something our Icelandic tour guide Erik told us -- in Iceland most of the six prisons do not lock their doors during the day; prisoners are free to come and go as they please as long as they return to the prison at night. Perhaps Iceland is a little slice of heaven. It has many other good qualities.
God paints a picture of the future in Revelations, which is probably why I have had a hard time understanding this particular book of the bible. I am not a visual person. I like words, but I have troubles seeing the words and painting the image at the same time. I need to hear the words of Revelations in order to paint the image in my mind. Listening to this passage in church I heard the imagine of people worshiping God forever and ever. What a beautiful image!

Again, what can I do in my daily life to show the world I am worshiping God. That his name is on my forehead (without actually going to a tattoo parlor). How does God want me to be His agent of healing?

The house is a little quieter now. The girls are together instead of hiding from each other. They continue to play as if it is not night. I wish I could take the metaphor a little further and say they are all worshiping God together, but they are just having fun together. Graduation is only two weeks away. This time together is precious. After graduation one is moving to Pennsylvania, another will go to her local high school. Life will change for all of them so soon. I want them to enjoy themselves and treasure this time together. Hopefully they will always remember that "God, our God, has blessed us" and may they continue to praise him as they seek His way.

May I remember God has blessed me and continue to praise him.


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