Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Fifteen

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John 7:53-8:11

Then each of them went home, while Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

Wouldn’t you just love to know what Jesus wrote there, on the ground? The Pharisees are doing their thing — testing him, this time, at the expense of a woman caught in a compromising situation. They keep playing this strange game of, ‘Can You Top This?,’ trying to trip him up. He refuses to be tripped.

As only Jesus can do, he turns the tables on them, calling out their hypocrisy and their judgmental spirits. One by one, they drop their stones and leave. Until only Jesus, the woman, and the words on the ground are left.

I’ve always imagined them as footsteps in the sand — something ephemeral and fleeting, but evocative of truth, convicting in their simplicity. 

Yes, I wonder what he wrote. But more than that, I wonder at him — at his compassion, his firm conviction, his generosity toward outsiders, his suspicion of insiders, his willingness to take a risk on behalf of someone in need of healing. No, she wasn’t ‘sick,’ nor did she have a demon. Apparently, all her body parts were working just fine. But oh, she needed the Master’s compassionate words of inclusion and encouragement. I like to think she chose to walk off in a different direction, changed, gently chastened, forgiven, understood.

Lord, help me to be more generous to those on the edges, to offer compassion rather than criticism, to speak clearly but kindly about making good choices, to not let anyone be the butt of the joke or the lesson-in-the-making. Thank you for your kindness here and in so many other places – both in scripture and in my life story. Thank you.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Fourteen

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Isaiah 65:17-25

For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.

Okay, so my idealized vision of the new heavens and the new earth will always include a beach scene! Yes, it will. And this gem of a passage from the prophet Isaiah is one of my favorite apocalyptic words ever. That’s a style, you know. A literary genre, not a scary, dystopian vision for the future, but a promise of great and glorious things to come. Too often, we use the word ‘apocalypse’ to describe something hellish and terrifying. But in reality, it is good news. Truly good news.

It’s a word that says this is not all there is. It’s a word that tells us to look forward with hope. It’s a word of promise, of beauty, even of joy. And joy is the thread that weaves its way throughout these verses, don’t you think?

Right here, at the one-third mark of our journey through Lent, we have the good gift of a passage that centers on JOY. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Read this through several times. Highlight the words or phrases that speak most strongly to you of joy, of promise, of hope. Then tuck those words into your Bible, or your notebook, or your heart and take them with you as we continue to walk together to the cross. They will be good companions on the way, I promise. The best.

Lord of Joy, thank you for Isaiah’s words today at the two-week mark. Thank you for this picture of glory, of wholeness, of fruition. Help us to cling to this picture when life today feels hard. Help us hold onto hope. Thank you.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Thirteen

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Numbers 21:4-9

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.

Remember yesterday’s reading from John 3? Yeah, well this is the story that Jesus was referring to in his midnight discussion with Nicodemus. This is the story of the lifting up in the desert. This is the story of looking up to be saved. This is the story of salvation coming in surprising ways. This is the story that defies expectations and experience. This is the story that freaks me out.

So the people are whining again. What else is new? And don’t you just love the quote we’re given from that whine? “For there is NO food and no water, and we detest this MISERABLE FOOD.” So . . . which is it? No food or miserable food? Hmmm. . . sounds like some kids I’ve raised. V – e – r – y familiar kinda whine, don’t you think?

But here’s what freaks me out — God sent a bunch of snakes to nip their way through those whiners. Yee-ouch!! I do not like the idea of God sending snakes to anybody. Nope, I do not. ESPECIALLY not poisonous snakes. 

But here’s the point of that visitation, I think: it shook those people right out of their whining, big time! You gotta wonder if these people didn’t connect some dots that aren’t actually there — just like I do sometimes. Something dreadful happens and they see the error of their ways. And then they make the leap to thinking that their behavior caused that bad thing to happen, and then they make a further leap to say that God caused that bad thing to happen because of their bad behavior. Hmmmm. . . I’m not so sure about that. But . . .

That’s how the story has come down to us, and God has allowed it to come down in this way. So clearly, there is something for us to learn from it, exactly as it is told to us. Here’s one thing it tells me: it’s a good idea to be aware of God’s active presence in our lives, come hell or high water. For good or for ill, God doesn’t pack up and leave us. God cares enough to get our attention and then to set us on the path of healing. And here’s another thing — we have to stop and look at our behavior, say we’re sorry for it, and then ask for restoration, healing and a re-start.

Okay, maybe I’m not quite so freaked out about it all.

Lord God of snakes and people, teach me through your word, even through the parts that shock and puzzle me. Help me to search for lessons/answers/help/understanding. And help me to balance the questionable stuff against all the unbelievably beautiful and life-giving stuff and somehow, learn from all of it. Thank you.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Twelve

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John 3:1-17

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?”

Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?

“No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

We’re at the 2nd Sunday in Lent, already, can you believe it?? And the readings for this Sunday include this wonderful narrative from the 3rd chapter of John’s gospel, one of my very favorite encounters in all of the gospel stories.

I preached on this passage once and called it, “Nick at Night,” just to be ‘cute,’ but also apt. This guy comes out to see Jesus only under the cover of darkness. He is cautious, careful, but intrigued. And I’ve always kind of admired his willingness to engage with Jesus one-on-one. He surely didn’t need to do this, he didn’t have to do it. He was already a mucky-muck, right? “A leader of the Jews?” 

But he comes. And Jesus meets him right where he is, cutting to the quick in an instant — and royally confusing the man with one swift blow. Like we so often do, Nicodemus wants to take every word that comes out of the mouth of Jesus literally. Yet Jesus very seldom speaks literally! Jesus chooses word pictures, parables, metaphors, mystery when he is teaching. How else can he possibly find words for the incredible truth he brings, the truth he is? Nick can’t hear it, he can’t comprehend the spiritual nature of re-birth at all.

I wonder, do we? The evangelical wing of the church has used this very language to the point of exhaustion . . . and confusion. What do we really mean by, ‘being born again?’ What did Jesus mean? I think he is talking about newness, about starting fresh, about moving into the mystery.

There is more to this life than dust, he seems to be saying. There is incarnation, indwelling, there is a lifting up that leads to life. There is once again, as we noted in that Romans passage a few days back, inclusion. EVERYONE who believes is granted a new start, a new life, a safe or saved life. 

We have spent so much time writing, speaking, saying, believing John 3:16 (which is a good, good thing to do, don’t get me wrong), but what about John 3:17? What about that promise, that promise of no condemnation? Jaw-dropping, don’t you think?

Jesus did not come to condemn this world, but to save it, to make it safe. And that is the best news ever, ever, EVER.

Lord, grant that I might cling to the truth of this story with all that is in me. Help me to delve into the mystery with you, no hesitation, no fear, no regrets.

Baby Steps — For SheLoves, March 2017

It must be the second Saturday of the month because I’m live at SheLoves again today! You can start this reflection here and then follow the links over to that good place to join the conversation. Our theme for March is “Be Bold for Change.”

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Several members of our family taking ‘baby steps’ on a hiking trail near Palm Springs last week.

Bold is a great big word. Only four small letters, but oh, my! — such freight. I don’t use it often, to tell you the truth. About 90% of the time, my use of the term is limited to clicking Command-B on my computer keyboard! I seem to be more willing to occasionally make a written word stand out than to actually be bold in my day-to-day life.

In fact, as I thought about writing for this month’s theme, I began to wonder if I have ever been a bold person, someone who steps out and speaks up and makes a change. I know I am not bold physically — I KNOW this. I don’t like high places, I am terminally uncoordinated, any size or shape of sports-ball coming my direction is a source of terror. I have a friend — one of my dearest friends — who is brazenly, maybe even crazily, bold physically. She learned to kite-surf in her 50’s and is now an expert. Last year, she and a friend hiked from the Alps of Switzerland to the shores of the Mediterranean in France. This week, she left for Nepal to climb to the base camp of Mt. Everest. Yes, really. The base camp of Mt. Everest.

Uh, no thank you. Much as I love and admire her, that kind of bold feels cray-cray to me. Just plain c r a z y.

Then I began to broaden my horizons and think about other bold women I have known. I soon realized that there are lots of different ways to step up, to step out, to take a chance, to risk failure, to make a difference. Some of those other bold women are the ones I’ve met here at SheLoves — Idelette, Tina, Kelley, Kathy, Helen, Bev, Erin, Cindy, Claire, Heather, Sarah, Michaela, Bethany — too many to list. Each of them, women who have had the courage to dream and the stick-to-it-ive-ness to realize those dreams — often despite fear, hardship, and loss.

Guess what? There are lots of ways to be bold. And every single one of those ways begins with a single step. One decision. One moment of courage. One instant of recognition that this — this idea, this project, this act of grace, this stand-up-and-be-counted moment — is do-able. These women — and so many others — believed in possibilities and then they walked those possibilities into reality.

Every bold step begins with a baby one. Dramatic change does not happen overnight. Sometimes, it takes a lifetime — even more than a lifetime. Really bold change only happens when lots of different people take lots of different kinds of baby steps, all of them heading in the same direction.

Come on over and read the rest of this piece and tell me about some baby steps of your own, okay?

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Eleven

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Luke 7:1-10

After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death.When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

They were on the way, just walking into town, the town that was kind of headquarters for this traveling band of teacher and learners. Just another day, you know? All of a sudden, the Jewish leaders approach Jesus. Uh-oh, you might think — and you’d have reason to think that, wouldn’t you??

But this particular crowd of Jewish people is very different from so many we read about in the gospels. They are friendly, not adversarial; they bring a request that is legit, not a ‘test’ of some kind. And . . . here is the kicker . . . they speak kindly and positively about a Roman, a Roman soldier, even.

Think about that for a moment. By and large, the relationship between conquered and conquerers has been iffy at best; downright hostile, at worst. Yet here we have the very unique situation of Jewish leaders coming to Jewish Jesus and asking him to consider the request of a Roman centurion.

That is wild and wooly fact number one. Here is number two: this particular Roman centurion is a stellar person, one who has faith in Jesus that goes beyond — well beyond — any faith yet exhibited by a Jewish citizen anywhere. And Jesus recognizes it — you can almost hear the awe in his voice, can’t you?

And almost like a toss-off remark, we are told that the servant in question . . . has been healed.

I think that Roman centurion is gonna be high on the list of folks I’d like to see when I get to heaven. How about you?

Lord, help us to welcome surprise. You took delight in this whole experience, didn’t you? Every detail confounded expectations — and that is a good, good thing. Help us to welcome such confounding, will you, please?

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Ten

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Romans 3:21-31

But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.

One of the loveliest — and densest — of all Paul’s writings, this chunk of Romans requires careful reading and lots of reflection. Some of these words are very familiar to those of us raised in the church — maybe too familiar? Do we miss their power because we know them so well?

Do we remember the overarching point of this passage — inclusion? Sometimes, when I look at the church, I wonder. We quote, and re-quote and dredge up for any and all purposes this beautiful little phrase: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But what about what comes before and after? 

Both places talk about inclusion.

Paul is arguing for us here, friends. He is arguing for the inclusion of Gentile believers into the fellowship of the redeemed. He is telling the Christians at Rome — and all of the billions of us who have read these words since then — that God does not distinguish between people when it comes to salvation. Every single person who chooses — at any point in their lives — to step out into the abyss and say ‘yes’ to the goodness and righteousness of God, most particularly as that goodness and righteousness have been revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ — ANYONE is welcome.

More than welcome, we are justified —  a good, old-fashioned word that most people haven’t a clue about defining. In essence, we are made right. WE ARE LINED UP, against the truest Level in all creation and we are found straight and true.

Each and every one of us — Jew or Gentile, long-time believer or newbie convert, male or female, rich or poor, a ‘good’ person or a lousy one: everyone is folded in. It isn’t the law that saves us — nothing we can do in our own steam is gonna make one whit of difference: only faith.

Not that the law is useless, no, not at all. But the law is redefined, re-situated in the life of the Christ-follower. The law becomes the result, not the cause. The law is transformed into the fruit of the Spirit, in all its nine-edged glory and those who lean into Jesus are declared to be redeemed. Thanks be to God!

Oh, Lord, we can so easily get hung up on behavior, on rules, on who is in and who is out. But you don’t, ever. Remind us that Jesus came for EVERYBODY, not just the good guys, not just the ones who look and live like we do, but all.of.us. By your grace and through your power, help us, O Lord, to do the same.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Nine

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2 Timothy 1:3-7

 I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

I pray daily that the faith my husband and I share will find its way down through the family tree and take root in the lives of our grandchildren . . . and in their children. This is not something that we can control, of course, but we are pinning our hopes on small passages like this one. 

Timothy had a grandmother who followed Jesus. And a mother. What a legacy! I am immensely grateful for the legacy that I have, on both sides, from my grandparents. And for the legacy that my husband has, on both sides, from his.

Now, we try to keep the line going. To love our littlest ones (and those who are FAR from little, these days!) in the way that Jesus loves them. We do it imperfectly. But we are consciously aware of wanting to do it better and better. 

Lord, hear our prayer. May we, and our children, and our grandchildren, and their children, be found faithful. May we not be afraid of questions, or of theological or ecclesiological differences, but look only for fruit and for faithfulness in these kids that you’ve given us. Help us — always, always, always — to love them as you do. Thank you for each and every one of them. Each and every!

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Eight

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Exodus 34:1-9, 27-28

The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you, and do not let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; and do not let flocks or herds graze in front of that mountain.” So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the former ones; and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed,

“The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
yet by no means clearing the guilty,
but visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
and the children’s children,
to the third and the fourth generation.”

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. He said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

There is something lovely about this small story, this encounter. Moses and God are both tired out. The people have done it again — gone off the rails, in a big way. Moses is so disgusted by their behavior, that he trashes the tablets upon which God had written the law, the guidebook for their future. Yet God isn’t done with them, no, God is not. 

He invites Moses to come away . . . again. Just Moses, no one else, including animals. And Moses goes, taking two blank stone tablets with him.

Here is what I love: GOD SHOWS UP. And this description is gorgeous. God descends in a cloud and he utters words of such poignant beauty. God tells it like it is: God’s love is ever-lasting — “to the thousandth generation” — but the sins of the people have consequences, consequences for themselves and their children and their children’s children. The consequences last some time, yes. But that time is nothing compared to the ‘thousand generations’ of God’s limitless love and grace. Forgiveness is promised, consequences remain.

I have seen the truth of this in every single pastoral counseling and spiritual direction session I have ever been in. We often need help navigating those dual realities: everlasting forgiveness, and consequences — even, maybe especially, generational consequences — for sin and brokenness. 

Those closing two verses tell us that God and Moses get down to work after this lovely opening salvo. The tablets will be filled again, the law will go out to the people — a gift and a burden.

Truth is like that sometimes.

God of truth, God of love, God of mercy — thank you for keeping steadfast love for us, thank you for walking with us through the consequences of our own sinful behavior, thank you for giving us the guidebook of the law. But thank you  most of all for sending Jesus to help us reinterpret that law and live it more fully and joyfully than ever.

Heading Home: Walking with Jesus to the Cross — Day Seven

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Psalm 32

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you. Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Well, that mule imagery is way too familiar! How often do I want to pull away, to sulk, to avoid acknowledging the myriad ways I fall short of the mark. Yet I have also experienced the ‘steadfast love’ that surrounds ‘those who trust in the LORD.’ That’s the wonder of it all —both things are true.

This is a wonderful psalm, filled with truth, with good news, and with just enough warning to make me pay careful attention. Confession IS good for the soul, the Lord IS a hiding place, rejoicing and gladness DO lighten the heart and the step. 

The harder things noted in this brief song, these are also true, aren’t they? When we turn away from communication with our God, we do ‘waste away,’ and we begin to feel as though God’s hand is ‘heavy,’ sapping our strength as ‘the heat of summer.’  

There is an important contrast being made here, and that contrast is not between Good God and bad god, it is not between loving God and punishing God. The true contrast being described here is what happens within us, the duplicity we all live with, day in and day out. There is always that push/pull for us — desiring God/resisting God. 

This song encourages us to keep letting the better angels win the day.

Almighty God, work into my soul a deep willingness to move with you rather than resist you. Open my heart to the joy of your forgiveness, the warmth of  your acceptance, the power of your encouragement. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.