Good morning! We have almost made it to the end of the week!
Today’s scripture: Psalm 146:5-10 (NRSV)
5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
I don’t know about you but this morning I woke up, read the scriptures, loved the Psalm but then felt a bit inadequate. This week I am desperately trying to catch up after a whole lost week of sickness and in the meantime still coughing every few minutes and not trying to over do it so I don’t catch something else while I am still a little sickly. There is a lot to do and just not much time to do it in. This morning I was moved by the Psalm but I almost immediately dismissed it.
And on top of it, how am I supposed to feed the hungry and stand up for the oppressed when I am so far behind? I have plenty of things to do in my office. I haven’t rescheduled everyone that I was supposed to visit and meet up with last week because there are plenty of people to meet up with this week who want time. I haven’t organized all of things that I thought I would have organized by now. Somehow the hours fly by in the day. And I really wanted to go visit those folks and make space for them. Plus lets not even talk about how to fit in all of the things I want to be at in the near future PLUS all of the prep that needs to happen on a personal level (shopping and planning) before Christmas. My house is a mess…PLUS it’s Advent time….more of a time to give and make sure people have what they need!
So I don’t know about you but sometimes then when I hear this call to be the hands and feet of God…well, it is kind of exhausting before we even get started…..
Ever feel that way? And I am sure I haven’t even touched some of what some of you are going through this season. Sometimes it is hard to shout out gratitude and justice when you are just trying to survive day to day….
So what do we do? Take a breath.
The thing about this Psalm is that it is part of what was called the “Daily Hallel.” These were daily prayers used in the synagogue. This Psalm proclaimed that God is doing these things, not us but definitely with us acting out what God is doing in the world. And this Psalm proclaimed God as king who would take care of God’s people. The Israelites were a people used to a king. The king wasn’t making space for his people…but God would. God is the new king who knows people’s needs. God stands up for what is right. And daily we give God praise.
This give me hope. First of all, if we are daily reciting gratitude, then of course there will be days when we don’t feel it but because it has become discipline, we can live into it. Today we may not be able to accomplish what the Psalm asks but that’s ok because we will recite it tomorrow too. We will live into not being as overwhelmed but carrying the daily mission statement. Secondly, God is doing something new and justice oriented to the people who need it the most. I am certainly part of it and certainly need to listen but I don’t need to become overwhelmed or guilty because I am not carrying it. God is. This is God’s kingdom. By coming along I will become happy in my help coming from the God of Jacob.
So take a breath. Lean into where you are. It’s ok if gratitude doesn’t flow from you today. Perhaps it will tomorrow. And it’s ok if you don’t accomplish justice today because God is working on it anyway and perhaps you will be on it tomorrow. Take a breath and let those feelings of overwhelmed craziness subside….