Monday, February 2nd
For Sunday, February 8th, 5th Sunday after Epiphany
READ: Psalm 147.1-11, 20c, “praise is fitting”
REFLECT: Honestly, this phrase was hard to swallow. Perhaps that’s why it stood out: it feels like it does not fit. Not in these times. How can it, when the news is filled with ISIS, Boko Haram, Ebola, unemployment, droughts…? What is there to praise when we hear the news that another unarmed black person is shot by police? There are theological questions, but what is the theological response?
As I continue to read, the verbs that describe God wash over my heart: builds, gathers, heals, binds, lifts up… These words give me hope. When we look for evidence of God in our world, we will always find God where we find and join in these activities.
The psalmist paints God’s actions and attentions broadly, from the naming of the stars to making each blade of grass grow. And I remember the ways that it helps me, when I’m worried or stressed about something, to step back and widen my perspective on my life and the world.
It comes down to the last line: “my hope is in the steadfast love of God.” That, I can praise.
RESPOND: God, something is amiss in our theology, in our relationship with you, when our praise becomes contingent upon anything other than who you are. We’re so easily distracted by our moods, our feelings, our fears and our suffering. Widen our perspective. Help us to give praise that is not contingent upon where there is war, disease or heartbreak, and help us to place our hopes wholly in your steadfast love.
One activity that helps me to widen my perspective is to follow the lead of the psalmist and observe God’s work in nature. I go for a walk and soak in as much as I can – from the ant busy at work to the movement of the wind and clouds. What do you do that helps you widen your perspective? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.
LECTIONARY TEXTS FOR THE UPCOMING SUNDAY (and for you to try on your own):
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
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.