Scripture: Psalm 147:1-11
Key verses: (1-5)
1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
Reflection: Did you see the eclipse? Or at least part of it? My family got caught up in the whole thing and traveled to the path of totality for the day. It’s been a while since an event like that has united people across so many different spectrums. It felt to me a little like a national holiday, Super Bowl or World Series win, and New Years’ Eve all rolled into one. Only, instead of celebrating a historic event or sports achievement or holiday, there was this celestial line-up that might truly be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. The people I was with in South Carolina, strangers mostly, were almost giddy together leading up to it. There was a true sense of community. I heard no talk of politics or what divides us. People smiled at one another, shared water and photography tips, and waited patiently together. It got me to thinking about what made it so different from our everyday lives. (Besides the obvious jaw-dropping vision of the moon blocking the sun.)
Here’s my best guess at the difference: we had no control over the eclipse. I got to decide where to go to view it, how to prepare, and where to order my glasses from. But I had no say in the fact that the moon would happen to line up with the sun in such a way that only happens at a few spots on the earth a very few times. And neither did anyone else. We spend so much time controlling our days. We plan for every eventuality, and even the most spontaneous of us pretty much know how things will go a lot of the time. Being in control is a virtue. Being organized and planning ahead is something we try to teach our children to do. It’s a good thing. But it doesn’t always help us trust in God, or one another, or practice faith. Those things involve recognizing the limits of our control. Yesterday was an opportunity to recall that it is God who orders the planets, determines the number of stars, and keeps the whole magnificent universe spinning. Remembering that might help us build more community on our tiny part of that vast universe, all the rest of our days.
Prayer: God, you spin the whirling planets, fill the seas and spread the plain, mold the mountains, fashion blossoms, call forth sunshine, wind and rain. We, created in your image, would a true reflection be of your justice, grace, and mercy and the truth that makes us free. Amen.
(from Hymn #23 in Glory to God)
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].