Monday, September 29
for Sunday, October 5th, 17th Sunday after Pentecost
READ: Psalm 19 “the heavens are telling the glory of God”
REFLECT: A few weeks ago I witnessed a glorious sunset, something we don’t get to see much living “inside the perimeter” of Atlanta. We were coming back down from the north Georgia mountains after a day of fly fishing on the Toccoa River. It was a great day, but it was also stressful, annoying, frustrating and disappointing — not something easily captured in a Facebook post.
After our office’s busiest time of the year, I had been looking forward to getting out of town. I needed to get away. The first few lines of this psalm resonate deeply with me. I feel more connected with God when I’m out in nature than I do almost anywhere else.
A lot of other people also had in mind to spend the day on the Toccoa, most of them floating by on rented, brightly colored inner tubes. Some folks drifted by quietly; others went by screaming and splashing. The more people I saw, the more angry I became. At one point, I sat down on the bank in frustration and said to God, “alright, what are you trying to teach me now?” But there was no response. It was more of a demand than a question and I wasn’t in the mood to listen anyway.
Reading through this psalm again, the word “insolent” caught my attention. That’s exactly how I would characterize those tubers! But the rest of the phrase challenged my self-righteous gloating: “do not let them have dominion over me.” I had allowed them to ruin my day, one by one. I refused to let them go and just float by. Instead I collected them all up and held them angrily in my heart.
RESPOND: God, help me to realize when I’m doing this — when I’m holding on to things rather than letting them float on by. Forgive me for my arrogance and sense of entitlement when I am offended that things don’t go my way.
What kinds of things are you holding on to, that you are collecting and counting in your heart? Does holding on to them really allow you to be in control, or do those things end up controlling you? Think about a recent time when this happened. How did you experience it physically? Did your heart race, your mind cloud, or your breath become shallow? Instead of denying these sensations, try letting them serve as a warning flag that you need to let go.
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.