A Life in God’s Presence – Blessing

22 Mar

Hello Friends,

I am still here, life has been busy and my tablet has had a couple of hick ups.  As much as I thought Lent would be a great time to blog each day, I find I have not found the time.  I have been doing a study group at St. Paul’s UMC [In His Steps] and a study group at Holy Apostles [based on the movie Chocolat] plus some meetings.  As things have become a little busier for me at St. Paul’s, they have been slowing down at Holy Apostles – actually yesterday was my last day at Holy Apostles.   My friend was appreciative of my time at her church and we both felt I had fulfilled the needs that were there.

Mom and Dad are about the same and we usually have at least one doctor’s appointment each week.  Dad had a lunch out with old golfing buddies this week and Mom cleaned her ovens and stove – this is typical of the division of labor since my Dad retired 20 years ago.

So, on with the Psalm and thinking about God in the midst of our lives.  This is Psalm 73 and there are some truly spectacular word pictures created by Eugene Peterson paraphrasing.

1-5 No doubt about it! God is good—
good to good people, good to the good-hearted.
But I nearly missed it,
missed seeing his goodness.
I was looking the other way,
looking up to the people
At the top,
envying the wicked who have it made,
Who have nothing to worry about,
not a care in the whole wide world.

This psalm speaks to a deep truth of human beings.  We so often look up to people, envying what they have, whether is it possessions or relationships.  When we look for our purpose or self-worth to people or things it is never helpful.  God is the authentic source of our purpose and self-worth. The psalm goes on to describe human begins that perhaps you have meet along the way.

6-10 Pretentious with arrogance,
they wear the latest fashions in violence,
Pampered and overfed,
decked out in silk bows of silliness.
They jeer, using words to kill;
they bully their way with words.
They’re full of hot air,
loudmouths disturbing the peace.
People actually listen to them—can you believe it?
Like thirsty puppies, they lap up their words.

11-14 What’s going on here? Is God out to lunch?
Nobody’s tending the store.
The wicked get by with everything;
they have it made, piling up riches.
I’ve been stupid to play by the rules;
what has it gotten me?
A long run of bad luck, that’s what—
a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.

15-20 If I’d have given in and talked like this,
I would have betrayed your dear children.
Still, when I tried to figure it out,
all I got was a splitting headache . . .
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
Then I saw the whole picture:
The slippery road you’ve put them on,
with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.
In the blink of an eye, disaster!
A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!
We wake up and rub our eyes. . . . Nothing.
There’s nothing to them. And there never was.

The psalmist describes the difference in listening to those who are placing themselves first [getting a splitting headache] and entering the sanctuary of God.  It is in the presence of God that life starts to make sense.  For me, difficult events becomes less painful, much of life becomes more joyful and there is always a blessing to be found.

21-24 When I was beleaguered and bitter,
totally consumed by envy,
I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox
in your very presence.
I’m still in your presence,
but you’ve taken my hand.
You wisely and tenderly lead me,
and then you bless me.

25-28 You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God—
oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.
God, I’m telling the world what you do!

I hope in your day, you can end where the psalmist ends – wanting only God – knowing that the source of life is in the presence of God.

My prayers are with you all as we prepare to enter Holy Week.  It is a gracious opportunity to think deeply about the life of Jesus, the violence of our world, and the redeeming power of God.

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