Scripture: Psalm 27
Key verse: (13) “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”
Reflection: What is the first thing you pay attention to in the morning? Once the fog of sleep has dissipated a bit, or the caffeine has hit your system (can I get an “Amen!”?), and your day has begun, what do you focus on first? Is it your family? The paper? Your favorite screen? Your to-do list?
One thing that is often said about the Millennial generation is that they are a generation totally saturated with information. This is true for all of us, really. From the moment we wake, we are inundated with news of events the world over. Sobering news stories come to us with alarming alert sounds on our phones. We find ourselves scrolling headlines whenever we have to wait in line. Often, we even know what that person we worked at summer camp with a million years ago ate for dinner last night (thanks, Facebook!). There is no more waiting for the 5 o’clock news to air. You can be plugged in to everything all day long.
There are plenty of upsides to this. We have to know what is happening in the world so that we can be good global citizens. And, of course, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with friends from all phases of life. But, I sometimes wonder what happens to our spirits when we are so inundated with (mostly negative) news all day long. Do we have a moment to breathe and re-focus? Are we ever allowed to unplug?
Psalm 27 is an earnest prayer to God. It weaves together familiar statements of faith (“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”) with images of war and danger (evil doers assail me, an army encamp against me). Over and over again, the psalmist declares faith in God in the midst of these circumstances – a faith which asks him to look again and again for God even in places that seem godforsaken. This kind of faith is distilled in verse 13, which reads, “I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
Perhaps Psalm 27 suggests a Lenten discipline for us, which is to pay attention to the world and all that is in it, good and bad, scary and celebratory, unbelievable and awesome, and to cling to the hope that God’s goodness will be made manifest, here and now. Perhaps “unplugging” doesn’t mean hiding our heads in the sand, so much as paying attention, and then instead of mindlessly scrolling, taking a break to offer all these things to God in prayer.
Prayer: Dear God, in the midst of the troubles of this time, give me eyes to see your goodness, here and now, even in challenging circumstances. When it is hard to see you, grow my trust that you are always at work. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[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].