Sep 14, 2019 filed under Hope.

Woman strolling through the park

Did you know you’re a theologian? A theologian uncovers deeper meaning in timeless truths of faith. So we’re all “small-t” theologians when we pray Lectio Divina.

Lectio Divina means “divine reading”—penetrating with our hearts the “meat” of scripture, the nourishing meal that God gives us when we realize that this psalm or that epistle was written just for our situation today.

You are unpacking timeless truth in a way that’s never been done before because you are unique and this scripture was written, in part, just because God always knew it would help you with today’s challenges.

I have prayed Psalm 95 almost every morning for many years. It’s an “invitatory” psalm that comes at the beginning of Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. I never get tired of reading it because it reminds me of what’s important. I invite you to pray with me as we walk together inside this Psalm.

Come let us sing to the Lord

Let me worship only you today, Lord, not my to-do list, not others’ opinions, not things I imagine I “should” do, but only You. Help me to check in with you often to ask for your guidance and wisdom.

And shout with joy to the rock who saves us

It’s 5:30 in the morning and I don’t feel like shouting for joy. Help me to remember that joy in you is not about how I feel, but the rock-solid knowledge that you have saved me from hell by your life, death, and resurrection and open your arms to me at every moment to embrace me in love, guiding me to eternal life in you. Which starts right now if I let you in.

Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving, and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

My heart is more joyful now, but my body is still tired. I’m a little resentful I have to get up so early to beat rush hour. Help me to look to you and not to how I feel.

The Lord is God, the Mighty God, the great king over all the gods.

Only you, Lord. Not me and not rush hour and not other people.

He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the highest mountains as well.

I hold my hands in front of me. You made every cell in them. You keep every cell in my body alive in all their minute operations at every moment of every day. Wow.

He made the sea; it belongs to him,

The fish in the sea have their problems, too. So many problems, so much beauty and grandeur in the whole universe. Molten rock spurts out of a fissure in the ocean floor. A plankton comes to be and dies.

the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

A mountain goat shivers on a snowy slope. A prairie flower blooms, never to be seen by human eyes. Sands in the desert blow in calligraphic undulations. My problems seem smaller now.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.

You keep everything in being, Lord. I say yes to your plans for me today.

For he is our God and we are his people, the flock he shepherds.

How far above our ways are your ways, Lord. You have the big picture; I don’t. Please guide me in your ways.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:

Grant me the grace to remember you often today, Lord.

Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did in the wilderness,

It’s hard not to grow stubborn when someone ticks me off, especially when I know I’m right! Try to see it from my point of view! Aren’t you the God of justice? Oh, I forgot. You submitted to us as a lamb, without opening your mouth or fighting back. That’s what mercy is. It’s hard. Help me.

when at Meriba and Massah they challenged me and provoked me, although they had seen all my works.

They had it a lot harder than me. Let me not be Moses’ sister, the griper Miriam, today, but that other Miriam, your mother Mary, who sees even the hard parts of the day through trusting eyes.

Forty years I endured that generation.

I never thought that I wearied you. I only see when you are wearying me when I hit a rough spot in the day. Sorry. I guess you do put up with a lot from me.

I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray

My heart goes astray every time I want my way instead of your way. I’m right in with Miriam crying “What is this manna nonsense? We want meat! And a double chocolate fudge sundae wouldn’t hurt, either!”

and they do not know my ways.”

I forget your ways about 297 times every day. But I thank you for the grace to come back to you 298 times.

So I swore in my anger, “They shall not enter into my rest.”

I know that’s an old-fashioned way of saying that you’re sad when we leave your rest to follow our own turmoil. You want so much to gather us in as a hen gathers her chicks underwing, but we will not. Help me to remember today that every time I feel stressed or discouraged, I have left the shelter of your wings. Help me to immediately run back to your rest, the eternal peace that you offer me right now, if I choose to accept it. Amen.

Let’s close with the words of a better theologian than me (hee, hee), St. Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica II-II, Q17, A2: “To him that longs for something great, all lesser things seem small; to him that hopes for eternal happiness, nothing else appears arduous, as compared with that hope.”

Love (and hope!) always,

11 Responses to “Strolling Through a Psalm”

  1. Barbara Ballard Kreutzer

    Thanks for your fresh perspective on a favorite Psalm! Take more trips to Vancouver!

  2. Tom Roberts

    Perhaps it’s my age but as a child I heard scripture read from the pulpit in Elizabethan English as in the King James Bible. The writers of that translation expended considerable effort on poetic imagery. As a result it’s not the best study Bible, but it is a marvel of beautiful English for reciting the psalms in prayer. For me it’s the 23rd psalm, especially 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

    The Lord’s Prayer we recite in church is in Elizabethan English. It reads so beautifully that I doubt any of us would be eager to modernize it.

    For increase of knowledge I head directly to The Catholic Study Bible, “translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources.” For the beauty of the psalms as prayer and to hear them echo through my mind I go back to Shakespeare’s time when English flourished, remembering, of course, that it would have been spoken in a cockney accent.


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