Thursday after Ash Wednesday
February 18, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 1, a familiar reminder of what a working relationship with God looks like:
Blessed the one who follows notPsalm 1:1-2
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on God’s law day and night.
The phrases in that little verse are so powerful!
We have seen all too clearly what happens when people “follow the counsel of the wicked”. We know how easily we can be infected by the negativity of “the insolent”. There is a spiritual distemper in us when these fractious humors fill the atmosphere.
Instead, we seek the peace and delight of being right with God. We embrace God’s law as a support and inspiration to guide us.
When we think of God’s Law, we might rightly think of the Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Torah, the Gospel – those places where we find the Law codified in words.
But we might also think of God’s Law as that silent omnipotent force that lifts the sun from darkness and sets it down again, that holds the seas in their global bowl, that lights the night with fiery stars.
Affinity with God’s Law is that loving practice which, by intrinsic prayer and reflection, gives over every moment of our lives to God’s order. That alignment, rooting us in God’s “due season”, allows goodness to blossom in us like a fruitful tree – an unfading, abundant harvest …
Like a treePsalm 1:3
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade,
Poetry: Onto a Vast Plain – Rainer Maria Rilke
Listen. You are not surprised at the force of the storm— you have seen it growing. The trees flee. Their flight sets the boulevards streaming. And you know: he whom they flee is the one you move toward. All your senses sing him, as you stand at the window. The weeks stood still in summer. The trees’ blood rose. Now you feel it wants to sink back into the source of everything. You thought you could trust that power when you plucked the fruit: now it becomes a riddle again and you again a stranger. Summer was like your house: you know where each thing stood. Now you must go out into your heart as onto a vast plain. Now the immense loneliness begins. The days go numb, the wind sucks the world from your senses like withered leaves. Through the empty branches the sky remains. It is what you have. Be earth now, and evensong. Be the ground lying under that sky. Be modest now, like a thing ripened until it is real, so that he who began it all can feel you when he reaches for you.
Music: How Deep, How Simple – Kathryn Kaye