Scripture: Psalm 65
Key verse: (8) 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.
Reflection: My computer lock screen is running a program called Windows Spotlight. It offers a rotating picture from around the world, usually of some beautiful nature or landscape scene. I’ve started using it as a spiritual practice, when I am able to slow down enough to remember. I pause, however briefly, and give thanks for the beauty of the earth God has made, and the wide variety of places and people in it. I like to try and guess where the picture is from, before clicking on the icon that will tell me.
Today the screen showed a rocky coastline that looked vaguely familiar. It reminded me of the tiny Croatian island where my youngest sister got married twenty years ago. I could tell it wasn’t exactly Havr, with its distinctive harbor and square, but the architecture was the same, and the way the sea met the shore was too. My click told me it was Dubrovnik, Croatia, where I caught a ferry on my way to the wedding. I immediately started thinking: I wish I could go back. I wonder how much a trip like that would cost today? Probably couldn’t swing it right now with college tuition. Maybe we could stay with friends in Sarajevo instead. And I started to click on airfare sites . . . I want, I want, I
want . . .
A deep breath helped me stop and return to the photo. What if I could just give thanks for where I have been before, and all the good memories and joy in that? What if, instead of immediately wishing I could go somewhere else, I am able to rest in this moment? What if I could be content with where I am now?
The Psalmist calls us to delight in, and be satisfied with, what God provides: mighty mountains and seas, earth, rivers, people, wilderness, hills, meadows, and valleys—the rich tapestry of places and people in the world. The gateways of the morning and the evening invite us to joy, wherever we are, including this place and this moment. May we all pause to give thanks for the places God has set us in, and the people with whom we share it.
Prayer: God, you have made a beautiful world. Thank you for all the parts of it I have been able to see and enjoy, and all the parts of it I may never see. Help me appreciate exactly where I am right now. Help me honor the people with whom I share this place. Teach me joy today. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].