This week we’ll focus on the psalmist’s words:
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate…. The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of all who fear him; he also hears their cry, and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever. –Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21 NRSV
Outside my window as I write this the wind is blowing at a pretty good clip. And because it’s the first full week in November that means the wind is blowing around a whole lot of leaves. Yes, there’s no doubting that winter is not too far off. The TV weatherpeople are forecasting much colder temperatures here in western Missouri for next week. What’s left of an unusually glorious display of fall color will be resting on the ground by then, which means getting out the rake and leaf blower/vacuum from storage.
Autumn is my favorite season. The hot, muggy days of summer are well behind us; sleet and snow are still something happening in the western mountain regions and much farther north in Canada. It’s “Goldilocks’ time”: not too hot, not too cold, but just right! Despite the attempts by retailers and advertisers to get us all in the mood for Christmas shopping, I have no desire whatsoever to either enter a shopping mall or browse the Internet for so-called bargains. And yet I’m fully aware of where we’ve been and what’s just around the corner. It’s as if we exist somehow in some kind of odd blending of past, present, and future. That awareness leads me to home in on one verse in particular in this week’s lectionary psalm: “One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
The dominant thrust of our culture, however, wants us to consider only the present–the here and now. Forget all the rest. Yet just a few days ago Christians observed All Saints Day, that annual observance marking, as the writer of Hebrews put it, a “great cloud of witnesses.” And in doing so we stand in the midst of the great arc of history, remembering those who’ve gone before to make possible the world we live in today. At the same time we look with hope and expectancy to a future in which others will take our place and the place of all those who’ve gone before. Together we affirm that God is what binds us all together. Yes, that same God who made promises to Abraham and Sarah and other of our ancestors and who has been and is faithful to those promises and covenants.
There’s no escaping the connections between past, present, and future. Nor can we overlook the responsibilities that come with those connections. As disciples of Christ we bear burdens for the marginalized, the hungry, the forgotten, the homeless, the “little ones,” all those that today’s powers and principalities ignore.
My life is pretty comfortable, especially in comparison to the vast majority of humankind right now. But it’s not guilt that the psalmist wants us to recognize in ourselves so much as it is our connection to the source of blessings and responsibilities. And so I utter the psalmist’s words, as well: “My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.”
- God Does Not Fit Into Your Box (searchingscriptures.wordpress.com)
- When We Don’t Feel Like Worshipping (everydayawe.com)
- Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 86 (stjoeofoblog.wordpress.com)
- A Season of Gratitude – A Message of Thanks Giving (morselsofbread.net)
- TREES and CROSSES (atmite.wordpress.com)
My book, What Was Paul Thinking? is now discounted at both Amazon.com and Barnes& Noble.com in print ($10) and e-book ($5.99) editions. If you’ve ever wondered just what Apostle Paul was getting at (and let’s face it, Paul can be hard to understand and appreciate at times) this is a good place to start.