July 2015

God, Psalms, and Summer Sights I don’t know what the ancient equivalent of sitting indoors in front of a computer screen six hours a day, then a television screen for another four, and doing this day after day was. But there must have been one: maybe sitting indoor sewing tents like Paul, cooking like Martha, or studying the Torah like the scribes. Hour after hour focusing downward and inward until the muscles begin to ache from holding ourselves in one position, until our thoughts begin to meander down errant paths of envy, lust, greed, anger, or just numbness. Somewhere in my twenties I learned a word and a school of philosophy called phenomenology. It called for the discipline of letting things speak for themselves, of suspending learned interpretations and pre-judgment so the object before us in everyday life could shine through, could manifest itself as a phenomenon. One famous illustration involved pausing before a mailbox for hours and “drinking it in.” I never got that much out of a mailbox, but there are phenomena that have worked their healing powers by pulling me outside of myself. And there is a collection of such objects in the Book of Psalms placed there by a God who seems to know that left to ourselves we are capable of becoming so self-absorbed that we lose healthy perspective. So God paints word pictures, many of them particularly appropriate for the summer months and God waits for us to stumble upon them and be redeemed by them. In the sermons and Sunday school these days we are pausing to look at trees planted by streams of water that bear fruit “in their season” (Psalm 1). We are moving away from artificial light to gaze at the stars and hear them speak of God’s glory without using words (Psalm 19). We are having our souls restored by the still waters and green grass of a pasture (Psalm 23) and listening for God’s voice to drown out all others in the rumblings and cracks of a thunder storm (29). We are enjoying the summer birds, migrant guests in our back yards, and imagining refuge under in the shadow of the wing (Psalm 91). We’d love to have your company (Sunday school 9:00a; worship 10:15a) as we continue. We will listen for messages in dangerous waters (Psalm 124), lift our eyes to the mountains seeking help from the maker of those mountains (123). We will remember dusk and the drama of children playing hide and go seek (Psalm139). We will listen to a raucous final chorus of praise to God joined by such unlikely allies as angels and sea monsters (Psalm 148).  But if you cannot join us, at least do this: look up and see the summer sights in their season. Then open whatever Bible you have lying around the house or access the myriad of translations available on the web and turn once more to the wonderful book of Psalms. Draw your own connections between those sights and their creator, the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. It will do your soul good. Pastor...

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