Monday, July 26, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 106 which, like its companion piece Psalm 105, is about the praise that comes from remembering.
The difference between the two psalms is this:
In Psalm 105, Israel has remembered God’s goodness, thus a celebratory tone
In Psalm 106, the psalmist recounts Israel’s forgetfulness of God’s goodness, thus a repentant tone.
In Psalm 106, a companion piece to Psalm 105, the same inventory is recited, but this time the focus is on the recurring recalcitrance of infidelity on the part of Israel. That is, it is a confession of sin, and it ends in petition:
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. (v.47)Walter Brueggemann
The message for us? Here is what I take from this psalm:
1 – Never forget or overlook God’s presence and action in my life.
But they soon forgot all God had done;Psalm 106:13
they had no patience for God’s plan.
We have to give ourselves the time to search our circumstances for God’s presence and invitation to Grace.
This practice has always helped me – pausing occasionally during the day, before or after my many tasks and encounters, simply to raise this question: Where is God in this moment?
2 – Structure my life in such a way that it calls me back to grateful remembering.
For their sake God remembered stayed fast to the covenantPsalm 106: 45-46
and relented in abundant mercy,
Winning for them compassion
from all that held them captive.
Our lives are complex. We have a lot of responsibilities, needs, desires, obstacles, hopes, and frustrations. In trying to deal with life’s complexities, we might begin to think that it all depends on us. We might get tangled in our own machinations. We might forget that it is God who breathed us into life and holds us in it through all our experiences.
Brief morning and evening prayers of gratitude, hope, reflection, repentance, and thanksgiving – these can keep us aware and focused. Slowly we may build to an hourly remembering of God’s companionship and action in our lives. Ultimately, with patience and practice, the awareness becomes constant and sustaining.
There are two wonderful books that have helped me with the prayer of awareness for those who might be interested.
- Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr
- Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day by Brother David Steindl-Rast
Poetry: I live my life in widening circles – Rainer Maria Rilke
I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
Thought and Music: The Great Song – Brother David