Scriptures and Reflections for the week of Aug 14 – Aug 19
The reflections below draw on Psalm 1 and 150
Monday, August 14
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
The Psalter begins with choices. The first choice has to do with where we obtain our basis for making judgments and our lives and how we are to live. What is the source of “the good, the right, the loving.” The Beatles once declared: “love is all you need.” In reality, it is the source of that love Who defines the practice of love and goodness. The Lord invites us into deep contemplation about who we are and what we do. How many times have you wished that you had breathed more slowly before acting or reacting. Meditate on the Lord and then do what you are called to do.
Tuesday, August 15
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
There is the overused phrase, “Those who stand for nothing will fall for everything.” One reason for weekly Scriptures is that it is a set time when we can meditate, contemplate who we are called to be as God’s creation. The core of our morality, of our conviction structure is found somewhere. For some it is purely their own self- interest. For others it is short term pleasure. For others it is detached certainty believing that if we can find inner peace that is enough. For some, well why care about anyone or anything. For Christians, it will ultimately be sacrificial love as shown to us by our Lord. Our strength is found in whom we choose to follow. Our faith is that following the way and will of the Lord, and that will give us the good place to stand.
Wednesday, August 16
Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
The Psalter is bookended by Psalm 1 which tells us we all have choices and who we are depends on the choices we make. The life we are all called to live is found in the goodness of the Lord. At the end of the day the promise is a life of praise. The last Psalm points quickly in two directions for praise. The first is a building of all things, something we have constructed in order to worship and grow. We are invited to make sure that what we build is praise to God. The second takes us outside the building and points at the magnificence of creation. It is something called into being by the Lord of all. What we make or create, and what the Lord of all has given us – these are all meant to be worthy of praise.
Thursday, August 17
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
A great many years ago, a theologian penned a very popular book, “Your God is too small.” For some God was the “cop on the block, ready to write a ticket.” For some, God was no more than a doddering forgiving old fool. For some, human powers and imaginations had already surpassed God. On and on went the list. Sometimes we reserve a place at worship where that is our “God fix.” Reassess the power and greatness of our God. When we limit God, we limit ourselves as well.
Friday, August 18
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Okay, some of us can neither sing nor dance. Whoever authored this psalm was obviously a musician, and turned to the instruments of his/her world to offer praise. We make a very large mistake in reducing our praise of God to a bunch of sounds, no matter how magnificent or even disharmonious. The point of this declaration is, PRAISE GOD WITH WHATEVER IS AT HAND, WHATEVER TALENTS AND IMAGINATIONS YOU HAVE. It might be math, or deeds of compassion, or even Facebook. Just let the praises ring.
Saturday, August 19
Psalm 150:1a & 6b
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
But I repeat myself. Actually there is a very powerful point in this. The psalmist began with praise and ended with praise. It was specific – the Lord. Ponder this for a while. What would your day be like if you began with praise for the Lord, praise for those around you, and yes, even praise for yourself? What would your rest be like at night if you ended your waking hours the same way? Maybe it would shape the unfortunate events of the day, the twists ad turns, the news and gossip, and about everything else. The Psalmist was wise, whether David or another of his era. Make wise choices based on meditation, contemplating the Lord. Begin and end with praise. We would all be better for that utterly simple lesson. Praise the Lord – and you too!