Sunday 19th July 2020
Reflection on Psalm 139
I don’t know about you but there have been times in the last few months when I have simply thought, “what on earth is happening and what is the future going to look like”. I would like to say that it has been a time in which I have devoted hours to meditation, study and prayer; but at times it has been really difficult to pray and a great deal of my time seems to have been taken up with learning about new technologies! My relationship with Microsoft Teams remains deeply troubled and on occasion puts my computer at risk although I know it is not its fault!! Yet, in the midst of the turmoil of 2020, God is present, His loving arms around those who are lonely, bereaved, despairing, exhausted, confused. How do we know this? Well, through personal experience, faith, and reading the words of Scripture and Psalm 139 is a great place to start. This has been described as the “crown of all psalms”. It is about God’s love, knowledge, presence for the individual – for the psalmist, but when we read this poetry, we can own it; it is given to us as a blessing, as sustenance in a dry and parched land.
God knows you better than you know yourself. At those times when you may feel distant from God and perhaps faith is difficult, even then God is with you. God searches, knows, discerns and is familiar with everything about us and does not turn away from us. Indeed God will seek us out. The psalmist speaks of fleeing to the highest heaven or sinking to the lowest depths, of travelling to the furthest lands or hiding in the darkness; but “even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast”. The words suggest physical movement, but can also be a metaphor for the inward journey of sadness, despair or loss of faith. In all these situations God is still there and will never abandon his beloved children.
What does the week ahead hold? There is excitement as more of our normal life opens up, but there is also anxiety. We have to adapt to new ways of meeting friends, shopping, working. We now have a new fashion accessory in the form of face masks and they are really quite easy to make so you can have one to match every outfit! We could also have them in liturgical colours! Even so, at times that overwhelming sense of ‘what is happening’ can hit us, but read these words of the psalmist – God is right there knowing and caring and loving us and when you don’t know how to pray or haven’t the energy to pray just turn to the words Jesus gave the disciples – simple words, because God already knows your hopes and fears, so just turn to Him.
Our Father, abba father, let heaven flood the earth, your will be done – your will which is to bring all things back into your loving arms; let there be provision for all people from the resources of this good earth; thank you for forgiving us and let us forgive in the same way, and protect us from all evil; for eternity is in your hands.
St Paul captured the eternal truth of God’s constant presence in those fantastic words in his letter to the church in Rome, chapter 8, “for I am convinced that neither death, not life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
In the week ahead let’s read Psalm 139 together and take it to heart and let’s all say with the psalmist, “search me and know my heart .. and lead me in the way everlasting”, Amen.