Monthly Archives: August 2017

Blessed are You, O Lord, Whose Glory is on Tour in the Skies!

My husband and I traveled to Oregon along with millions of others to catch a glimpse of the total eclipse of the sun this week.  As I waited patiently, I did not just see the moon covering the sun but experienced the process of the moon slowing moving across the sun.  As dusk came and night seemed to be descending, there was a chill in the air and street lights came on in the town below us. But soon there was a sliver of sunlight and morning broke through for the second time that day.

Though many left, I watched as the moon finished its journey and the sun was no longer eclipsed. This slow process, which in no way could be controlled by human beings, was a breathtaking phenomenon that only God could have orchestrated. This experience reminds me of what happens in the ministry of spiritual direction and on the spiritual journey each of us has with God.

As a spiritual director, I take time to pay attention to the slow work of God in my life so that I can help others pay attention to how God is at work in their lives. Like the eclipse, there is nothing you and I can do to rush what God is orchestrating for our lives. But we can trust that God is slowly but surely at work. If we choose to leave the spiritual journey early we will inevitably miss the fullness of God’s grace and mercy.   But if we trust that the slowness is for our benefit, we will experience the phenomenon of God’s surpassing greatness.

As we drove back home to Northern California, I talked with God about what I had witnessed. I was reminded of the words of Psalm 19. I share them with you as a prayer that nothing eclipses your experience of God this day or in the days to come.

God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
God-craft on exhibit across the horizon.
Madame Day holds classes every morning,
Professor Night lectures each evening.
Their words aren’t heard, their voices aren’t recorded,
But their silence fills the earth:
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere.
God makes a huge dome for the sun—a superdome!
The morning sun’s a new husband leaping from his honeymoon bed,
The daybreaking sun an athlete racing to the tape.
That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts, warming hearts to faith.
The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.
God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.
~Psalm 19:1-9 (MSG)

Blessed are You, O Lord, Whose Glory is on Tour in the Skies!

Blessed are you, O Lord, who keeps our soul among the living…

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
~Psalm 66 5-9 and 16-20

Twice in Psalm 66 God’s people are invited to come. First, all who worship God are to come and see. When God’s people gather it is natural to reflect on years past, weeks gone by or even yesterday and to see again what God has done. In corporate worship we take time to praise God who has kept our souls alive and not let our feet slip.  Ultimately, we are then inspired to do as St. Benedict once said, “Always we begin again.”

Next we are to come and hear, and to even be heard. The Psalmist moves us from corporate worship to a time of personal reflection about how God has listened to the voices of those living in right relationship with him. God cares about the cries our hearts and attends to our prayers with loving and gracious responses. It is good for us to recall and retell how God has preserved our souls with his steadfast love.

As I reread these passages, my mind wanders to the New Testament and Jesus’s words in Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus too invites us to come. And perhaps the Psalmist helps us understand that to learn from Jesus we must take the time to see him and hear from him. For in our coming and seeing as well as coming and hearing we are more equipped to be a people who find rest for our souls.

Blessed are you, O Lord, who keeps our soul among the living
and does not let our feet slip.