November 27, 2020

I Make the Sun Rise

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn.✝︎ I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples, and I will sing praises to you among the nations. 
Ps 108:1-3
Older translations of this psalm render the second clause of verse 2 something like, I will awake early. Well, that's fine, I suppose. But the NRSV is a better representation of the Hebrew אָעִירָה שָּׁחַר, which actually means, I'll wake up the dawn. This reminds me of the Prayer of the Rooster in the wonderful book Prayers from the Ark*—
Do not forget, Lord,
it is I who make the sun rise.
I am your servant,
but, with the dignity of my calling
I need some glitter and ostentation.
Noblesse oblige...
All the same,

November 26, 2020

A Prayer and a Song

Here's a prayer and a song for Thanksgiving...
Dear Heavenly Father!
You give us each day our bread.
For this, we thank you
and to you we pray:
Give us what we need
to eat our bread in peace. 
For your Son Jesus is the bread of life
come down from heaven, 
who gave himself that we might live.
Feed our souls, we pray,
strengthen us with your word,
and send your Holy Spirit
to fill us with joy and fullness of life.
May the satisfied find hunger,


Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
Psalm 107:31
Gratitude means saying thank you, of course. But it is so much more. It can be a consistent attitude that permeates all of existence, transforming the life of the person who practices it. In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyobomirsky wrote, 

Gratitude is many things to many people. It is wonder; it is appreciation; it is looking at the bright side of a setback; it is fathoming abundance; it is thanking someone in your life; it is thanking God; it is 'counting blessings.' It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is coping; it is present-oriented. Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, avarice, hostility, worry,

November 25, 2020

Mustache and Walking Stick

Their courage melted away in their calamity; they reeled and staggered like drunkards, and were at their wits’ end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out from their distress; he made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they had quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.
Ps 107:26b-30

The psalms give us hope. And in Psalm 107, we see God's constant love, over against human unfaithfulness. Now sometimes doubt is mistaken for unfaithfulness and vice versa. And being too sure of a matter of faith can lead to arrogance, or even the persecution of those who disagree. So, as the Rev. John Ames said in Marilynne Robinson's Gilead,
I'm not saying never doubt or question. The Lord gave you a mind so that you would make honest use of it. I'm saying you

November 24, 2020

Longing and Hungering

For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things.
Ps 107:9
Today's devotion is adapted from Charles Spurgeon's November 20th entry in his devotional classic, Faith's Checkbook:

It's good to have longings—the more intense they are the better. God will satisfy soul-longings, however great and all-absorbing they may be. So let us greatly long, for God will greatly give. It can't be said that we're never in a right state of mind when we're contented with ourselves—when we're free from longing. Desires for more grace and groanings which cannot be uttered are growing pains: we should wish to feel them, because they show us that we are growing in the faith.

Of course, hunger is by no means a pleasant sensation. Yet Christ said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness."  Such persons shall not only have their hunger relieved with a little food, but "they shall be