December 17, 2010
A psalm of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!
Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
Your unfailing love will last forever.
Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with David, my chosen servant.
I have sworn this oath to him; ‘I will establish your descendants as kings forever;
they will sit on your throne from now until eternity.’”
Long ago you spoke in a vision to your faithful people.
You said, “I have raised up a warrior.
I have selected him from the common people to be king.
I have found my servant David. I have anointed him with my holy oil.
I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong.
His enemies will not defeat him, nor will the wicked overpower him.
I will beat down his adversaries before him
and destroy those who hate him.
My faithfulness and unfailing love will be with him,
and by my authority he will grow in power.
I will extend his rule over the sea, his dominion over the rivers.
And he will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
In the beginning we wanted
only touch gentle
and milk warm and words kind,
a true near-drawing
It’s so good
you are alive with us
you cannot imagine
in your being
Our first desire
which by virtue of being
first and true
begs an answer
not found among the living
became a known fact.
So I looked for the father
who was not my father,
the mother not mine,
for the love unfailing
whose notes I could sing
But was found first
in spite of my seeking,
by one who drew near
My Father, my God, my Rock
from satisfied lips.
O Immanuel, O “With-us-is-God”: for your gifts, these assurances, the solidity of your enduring presence and love, thank you.
December 10, 2010
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy!
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
Those who plant in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
(New Living Translation)
Is there any one place from which
torn we would wail long and hard
be heard from a long way off
like a wolf howling under the moon
anxious to rejoin the pack
longing to curl up in a den
thick with musk and contentment
beneath the hill whose curve
and slant differs from all others
near the stream whose perfect waters
emptied themselves into you daily
and fed the deer who fed you?
To be again where others
would first smell your arrival
eager to lick and nuzzle you
back into existence?
We wander between the poles of longing and fulfillment, Lord, only finding our way to joy and hilarity through the gift of a opened door, the door with the god-side knob. Yet every day you open it, if only by a sliver, beckoning us to push a little if necessary, inviting us across the threshold separating absurdity and ephemerality from faithfulness and truth. Courage to enter, Lord, we pray for courage. Humility, Lord, we pray for humility. Trust, Lord, always, trust.
December 3, 2010
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
A psalm of the sons of Korah.
You restored the captivity of Jacob.
You forgave the iniquity of Your people;
You covered all their sin. Selah. (1-2)
Too often I’ve separated favor and forgiveness … yet here they’re intertwined. The mystery of the Lord’s favor/restoration and forgiveness/atonement indeed overwhelm our iniquity; not just mine, but ours. I’m humbled in such wonder at the encompassing goodness of our God, the strength of our Redeemer, the love and humility of Jesus, the very Lamb of God.
I will hear what God the LORD will say;
For He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones;
But let them not turn back to folly.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
That glory may dwell in our land.
Lovingkindness and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth springs from the earth,
And righteousness looks down from heaven.
Indeed, the LORD will give what is good,
And our land will yield its produce.
Righteousness will go before Him
And will make His footsteps into a way. (8-13)
The voice of God rings anew as we return again to listen to His Incarnation. In the waiting of Advent, He speaks peace to us. Does not t the angel’s joyous chorus echo to us even now: Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.
He is pleased. He is pleased to shower His sacrificial and humble Love upon people. This Jesus — the way, the truth, the life; the One in whom Mercy, Truth, Righteousness and Peace come together, who has become the Way we have waited for, and in whose footsteps we now follow, so that a harvest beyond our imaginings would be yielded. Glory to God in the highest … redemption draws nigh.
+ O Lord, lead us – Thy People – in Your Way, into Truth and all Life. Life-Giver, You who live through us, we remember your humble heart in this season of waiting anew; we ever wait upon You, O Lord. Amen. +