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We Are Known; Lead Us in the Everlasting Way.

Hilary Wenzel - June 2, 2024

from Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18 (The All-knowing, Ever-present God)

During Lent, I said I wasn’t usually a reader of Psalms, and I chose the lectionary offering of Psalm 22 as a way of getting closer to what Jesus and his first followers were experiencing. It was a psalm of David about turning from suffering to praise.

Here we are after Pentecost, and I’m choosing another of David’s Psalms, Psalm 139, referred to in many Bibles as The All- Knowing, Ever-Present God. The selected lectionary verses certainly give me this impression of God. For me, they represent comfort and protection and guidance, not just for my personal situation, but for everyone in every time and place. This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen. It means we are held by God, even in the midst of the worst. We may be overwhelmed but we are not alone.

I don’t know how the Common Lectionary verses are chosen. I am always curious to read and wonder about what comes before or gets omitted. The tone in verses 7 - 12 suggests someone who has strayed far from a life in God and yet realizes that God is ever-present, inescapable. We hear “even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day;..” We hear this also at the end of verse 18: “when I wake up, I am still with You.”

But then the speaker tells God what’s really bottled up inside, which he knows God already knows…it all comes spewing out in verses 19-22.

“God, if only You would kill the wicked…Lord, don’t I hate those who hate You…I hate them with extreme hatred: I consider them my enemies.”

And finally, after releasing this venom, he asks God for help. Not help to vanquish these enemies. That kind of help request is found in several other psalms. Instead, he asks to be searched and known and tested. And if God sees ways he has strayed, he asks to be led back into the “everlasting way.” We witness someone coming into God’s presence with elements of awe, praise, confession and a need for guidance.

How can we use this example in our own lives and in the life of our Church? First, none of us are rulers like David, so we don’t have that burden of responsibility. Still, We do have limitations of time and energy both individually and as a congregation. I know my spirit flags at times.

Here’s what I’ve learned from participating in this church. The force that holds us is Love… love that is both receiving and giving, courageous and vulnerable, expansive as all time and space yet as intimate as our breath.

I’ve also learned to love gardening, starting with restoring and building soil. I believe this is God’s everlasting way in nature. God’s love is regenerative for us too. David was “made in secret,...formed in the depths of the earth.”

The words of our opening hymn reflect this:

O God in whom all life begins, who births the seed to fruit,

bestow your blessing on our lives; here let your love find root.

Finally, I collect refrigerator magnets when I travel. My best is Advice from Bandelier National Monument, an ancestral puebloan site in northern New Mexico. It says: Tell stories of the past - Learn from those who came before - Celebrate the Earth - Take time to dwell on the narratives - Discover deeper mystery!

God is never done with us. We can return again and again to recharge and expand our capacity to receive and share God’s love. We can contemplate what we are grateful for. We can practice loving kindness for ourselves and others. We can cultivate patience as we work toward our goals. We can share our stories along the everlasting way.

This is my hope for each of us and for our church.




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