Lent Reflections @ CEC (3/15/20)
“Lord, have mercy on me! … I make no effort to conceal my wounds. You are my physician, I your patient. You are merciful; I stand in need of mercy.” St. Augustine
SCRIPTURE & DEVOTION: Psalm 19
"May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
What a week! We have heard Pastor Ryan repeat Psalm 19: 14 (listed above) many, many times. We have had the opportunity to speak and to meditate on many things in this past week as we hear, read and ponder all that is happening in our world. We have so many questions. What is the "right" thing to do in "this" or "that" situation? What is the best way to love our neighbor? How should we be prudent and careful? What does it look like to live as a believer in Jesus in these chaotic times?
I invite you to take the morning off - and to focus on both the majesty of God and his personal word in our lives.
NT Wright likens Psalm 19 to a painted masterpiece in a museum. When you stand back you see the beauty of the whole picture - when you get close you see the individual strokes that make up the painting.
The Psalm opens with the grandeur of creation and closes with an individual prayer. So much of this Psalm is about communication - the heavens "speak" to reveal who God is, yet with no words. There is a tent for the sun and nothing can escape its warmth. It penetrates everything. The words of the Lord bring refreshment, wisdom, joy and clarity.
From NT Wright -
"In verses 7–10 (the celebration of Torah), the poet reflects on every aspect of the law: law itself, then ‘decrees’, ‘precepts’, ‘commandment’, ‘fear’ (i.e. reverence), and ‘ordinances’ or ‘judgments’. Torah as a whole is designed, he says, to penetrate, like the sun’s heat, down into every aspect of the personality: the breathing life itself (‘soul’), the understanding mind that needs wisdom, the heart that needs to be cheered up, the eye that needs to see clearly how things stand in the world and which way to go."
What an encouragement to know that the words of the Lord - both in creation as it reveals Him to us, and the laws, precepts, decrees - those words are where we find hope. The words of the Lord are both precious and protective. They are sweet and strong. They offer hope and a warning at the same time.
I love the honesty of the question - "Who can discern his own errors?" He doesn't even know where to start. So he prays: Forgive my hidden faults - the things I'm not even aware of - AND - keep me from willful sins. When YOU (God) do this, then I will be considered blameless. I want to focus on You, Your words and our relationship. I want to be right with you. The whole ending of this Psalm is a great pattern of prayer for us too.
How amazing to know that the God who created the universe desires relationship a personal relationship with us. May our hearts and minds learn to focus on God's words to us in these tumultuous times.
Do you need refreshment for your soul? Look at the perfect law of the Lord
Do you need wisdom? Look to the trustworthy statutes of the Lord
Are you looking for joy? Look at the right precepts of the Lord.
Do you need to see clearly? Look at the radiant commands of the Lord.
(Louie Giglio did a video years ago called How Great is our God - watch HERE. (41 minutes).
It is an amazing & fascinating presentation that moves from the vastness of the solar system to the fantastic complexity of the human body. You will not be sorry you took the time to ponder this.)
You are the God who holds all things in Your hands. None of what we are experiencing is a surprise to You. Today, as we have opportunity to worship You maybe a little differently than we typically do on Sunday mornings, would You truly make the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts pleasing in Your sight, BECAUSE You are our rock and our redeemer.