Friday after Epiphany
January 8, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 147.
I began my prayer this morning still unsettled by the events at the U.S. Capitol building. Then I considered that it was still the Octave of the Epiphany, and realized that some epiphanies come by stormy lightning and not by starlight.
My first attempts at prayer seemed to bounce off the psalm’s formulaic words like sleet off a tin roof. The psalm did not yield to my need for naming and healing my anger and pain – the lightning’s wounds.
Asking to find God’s voice in the psalm, I finally came to see it as Israel’s prayer once it had been healed – just like I needed to be healed, just like our country needed to be.
The psalm revealed the steps to such healing …
the steps I, and we as a nation, might take to wholeness.
by acknowledging God in humility and praise:
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
by strengthening an inclusive community:
For God has strengthened the bars of your gates;
by reverencing every family and neighbor:
God has blessed your children within you.
by building an infrastructure of peace:
God has granted peace in your borders
by assuring life’s basic needs for all:
With the best of wheat God fills you
by cherishing the Earth we share:
God sends forth the command to the earth;
swiftly runs God’s word!
If we truly live within that acknowledgment,
we become people of truth and mercy –
People of God.
Poetry: from A Book of Psalms – Stephen Mitchell closes Psalm 147 with this transliteration:
You rejoice in a pure heart
and in those who let you shine through them...
You send your wisdom to their minds;
your light runs faster than a thought.
Above all others they are blessed,
because they can hear you speak
(though your love speaks in all people,
in the silence of every heart).
Music: Heal Our Nation – Heartbeat