Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Day Thirteen- March 10
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 hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring for ever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Reflection and Prayer
"This psalm is all about a message,Lord, a message you are sending that is no longer
getting through. If only people would stop, look, and listen, step aside out of their insane scramble after all the shoddy trinkets are dangled, glistening, before their eyes, and catch, again, the old world sounds of geese above the autumn fog, and feel the sharp, fresh wind across their faces, the rich soil beneath their fingers.
If we, your people, could only do all this, we might just reconnect with that earliest of ancestors who, venturing out beyond the mouth of his smoke-darkened cave, and exclaimed in wordless awe and wonder, groped toward thoughts of God.
What progress we have made since that cave mouth!
What inconceivable improvements in all the standards of our living! Yet I sometimes wonder what it all has cost, what has been lost along the way, how it is that we no longer hear the eloquent silence that speaks to us of you, Lord God.
There is, of course, another side to nature;
there are earthquakes, floods, disease, and human suffering. So the psalmist, in his delineation of your message, turns from nature to the marvel of your law. You not only gave a wondrous world to live in, Father, you have also showed us how to live in it. You have given us a Book, a set of clear directions, on how to take our place within this glorious setting. And this law is not a crushing, heavy burden, it is a blessing given us to cherish, to uphold, because it upholds us; because it is the framework, pattern, model of existence in relationship, in community, in responsibility, and therefore in the only true and worthwhile--lasting --freedom.
'The starry heavens above me and the moral law within'; open my eyes this day, Lord, to these signposts set within the world that point me toward you. Teach me reverence and obedience-- and faith, which is the fullest combination of the two. Amen"
Reflection and prayer from Praying the Psalms, J. Barrie Shepherd, 1987.