Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Psalm 65

I've been fairly disciplined lately about reading the Daily Lectionary texts along with prayers and canticles provided in the Daily Prayer version of the Book of Common Worship. One of today's Psalms was Psalm 65. Verses 5-13 (text below) really spoke to me today, especially in light of this time of year as we turn our eyes from summer and head into fall. I was moved by the juxtaposition of the image of a mighty, strong, awesome God who offers deliverance and established the mountains with the image of a visiting, field-watering God who intimately cares for the earth and its inhabitants. God the farmer. God the life-giver. God, the one who knows how much water we need and when to offer it and how to offer it so that we grow just so.

I somehow got lost in thinking about the final stanza in which hills gird themselves with joy, meadows clothe themselves with flocks, and valleys deck themselves with grain. As my wardrobe turns from shorts, t-shirts, and ball caps to blue jeans, sweaters, and stocking caps, I not only join the other people who do so, but I join the earth who also changes its wardrobe based on the seasons of the year. And, in the end, we all join together in shouting and singing together for joy in response to the abundant provision and grace of God.

So much beauty and deep theology in 13 verses...

Psalm 65:5-13
By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tribal Church

I'm close to finishing Tribal Church by Carol Howard Meritt, and I think I can safely say that any church that has any inclination to reach out to young adults should have folks reading this book. It raises many good questions and challenges the church to be intergenerational its focus. With its words rattling around in my brain, I observed some wonderful thing at Harpeth Presbyterian Church last night:
  • James Peeler and I took a group of middle-schoolers to Stratford High School yesterday afternoon to help prepare a newly renovated space for tutoring provided by Martha O'Bryan Center. At one point, Peeler was standing in a dumpster making sure we got every last bit of old carpet in there. James Peeler is the kind of man any parent would want spending time with their kids, whether their kids are 4, 14, or 24.
  • We returned to church to see little Asher Brown (age 2) walking down the hallway screaming and crying for some reason. Two teenagers saw him and rushed to his aid and swooped him up and made sure he felt loved as his mother chased him down. Those teenagers treated him as a little brother.
  • Our church choir has teenagers, college students, young adults, young parents, empty-nesters, and retirees who all gather each week to prepare as worship leaders. There's a buzz in the room as all of these generations spend time together. As rehearsal was gearing down, I looked over and saw the hand-written prayer that our un-official (yet official) chaplain, Carol Bradley, had prepared for the evening. Each week she shares a prayer that she has written and all those generations are enriched.
Is Harpeth perfect? No. Are there ways for us to improve the way we reach out the young adults? Yes. Yet, in many ways, I'm proud of Harpeth for valuing the input of all of God's children, whether they be 2 or 92 or somewhere in between.