Good morning all!
Psalm 139 : 1-12
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
One of the things I love about late November and early December is getting ready and going to church on Sunday mornings. I drive to church at about 7am, just as the sun is rising at that time of year. There is something about going somewhere as the sun rises. All of these beautiful pinks come bursting out of a clear day if we are lucky in Oregon and the world seems to be waking up again. Pretty soon though I am driving to the church in the dark as we go further into December and my mornings become sleepier and sleepier. Especially right around this week, as my schedule gets busier and busier, I would really rather be hibernating. I looked up the sunrise time this morning to find that it was around 7:50 am. No wonder I want to hibernate! Our world is telling us that we need to hole up until the sun comes back. Because we yearn for that sunrise. There is just something about finding the world starting over in the morning.
The good news is that we have slept through the winter solstice and starting today the light begins to return. Our days should be getting longer and longer starting now. Psalm 139 reflects this back and forth between light and darkness. Psalm 139 reflects that we are actually with God through it all….light and darkness, morning and night, every location. This is one of my favorite verses of the entire bible. There is something comforting to me about knowing that God knows me and is with me through it all. There is something really wonderful about knowing that darkness will not overcome me because of a presence of God.
One of my favorite poets (and Andrew put up with me please…I haven’t given you much poetry) is Mary Oliver. This poem is called morning and it is that play of being known, being happy, and the light and dark. It says that every morning the world is created anew. If you would like, read on through the poem and then face the day anew.
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
And if your spirit
carries within it
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.
Prayer: Creator God, allow us to dare to pray this morning as the light tries to shine through the fog, the darkness, the frost. In our darkness, find us and bring us that glimpse of light that is returning. Amen.