Today's lectionary reading: Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45; Genesis 21:1-7; Hebrews 1:8-12
Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45 (Living Bible)
Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45
Thank the Lord for all the glorious things he does; proclaim them to the nations. 2 Sing his praises and tell everyone about his miracles. 3 Glory in the Lord; O worshipers of God, rejoice. 4 Search for him and for his strength, and keep on searching! 5-6 Think of the mighty deeds he did for us, his chosen ones—descendants of God’s servant Abraham, and of Jacob. Remember how he destroyed our enemies.
7 He is the Lord our God. His goodness is seen everywhere throughout the land.
8-9 Though a thousand generations pass he never forgets his promise, his covenant with Abraham and Isaac
10-11 and confirmed with Jacob. This is his never-ending treaty with the people of Israel: “I will give you the land of Canaan as your inheritance.”
37 [Then God] brought his people safely out from Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; there were no sick and feeble folk among them then. 38 Egypt was glad when they were gone, for the dread of them was great. 39 He spread out a cloud above them to shield them from the burning sun and gave them a pillar of flame at night to give them light.
40 They asked for meat, and he sent them quail and gave them manna—bread from heaven. 41 He opened up a rock, and water gushed out to form a river through the dry and barren land; 42 for he remembered his sacred promises to Abraham his servant. 43 So he brought his chosen ones singing into the Promised Land. 44 He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, complete with their growing crops; they ate what others planted. 45 This was done to make them faithful and obedient to his laws. Hallelujah!
Remember. Tell. Proclaim. Remember. Tell. Proclaim.
Psalm 105 begins with a call to worship--a call to remember. To revel in appreciation for God’s past wondrous works. To bear witness again and again and carry that witness for others to behold. To remember so that we can be infused with strength and sturdiness as we live our life.
As I take inventory of last year, I hold in the balance that life throws us whammies constantly and the world is filled with lots of scary things. I suppose that is why it is so important to remember. The history of how God has shown up in my life grounded me in 2020. So this life lesson to open my heart and open my mouth to thank God has been a beautiful journey of invoking gratitude. I embrace the zeal and fervor imbued in this passage. I say this because 2020 was filled with all kinds of deliverance worthy moments! I leaned into this fervor because God did indeed sustain me! So I appreciate that this Psalm tells us to practice remembering God’s miracles and wonders in our lives.
I love the memories I have of my Grandmother. She was a homemaker by profession and was marvelous at creating a loving home. Regularly, as she went about her day; whether, ironing, cooking, canning or cleaning, she intentionally breathed out a “thank you Lord”...ever so gentle. This clear memory of her remembering God, her worship, her acknowledgement, her quiet adoration as she blessed God in the middle of the middle, her eased expression of gratitude, her devotion to remember- it is still ever present with me today. I find that I now whisper and sing and dance “thank you Lord’ in my life. As I create the practice of this simple phrase, this holy phrase -flowing freely from my lips, I feel the assurance that it creates. The wild and measured gratitude. The clarity of a whisper and the wild joy of a song. I bore witness to my Grandmother telling the world of her appreciation- because I heard. This private exchange that wasn’t private. In the hearing I became a witness. I now have my own full-bodied rejoice for God.
Dedication to remembering invokes a deep connection to God’s power in our lives. God’s covenant with Israel is a testimony that has inspired generations through thousands of years. That “through” is powerful. He delivered them from Egypt into provision that prepared them for provision. They went from glory to glory… God took them. God takes us too.
So, the remembering is for now. For our own upcoming testimony time. Our worship is to remember and anchor us to tomorrow. The storytelling is precisely for now, to hear the stories of old and how they navigated relinquishing control and settling in. And that incites my desire to nurture my ability to see the bright side- because I keep in clear view, God’s side. I want to remember.
During this lent season I will continue my journey of releasing my blotchy memory, my proclivity to forget that all is well in God. God’s grace has crossed the generations to pour into my present. I will allow myself to let go because like in verse 41, I want the rocks to break open and the water to gush into my barren lands...our barren lands.
I encourage you to remember and hold your evidence of God’s faithfulness close because… verse 43 says they sang their way into the promised land.
What testimony will you allow to flow from your lips? What songs are you singing on your way “through”? What flows in your whisper? As for me, I remember- I hear you Grandma. And now- so does the world.
I encourage you to create a daily 5-15 minute ritual of naming what you are grateful for. Start with deep breaths to settle your mind. Allow your body to relax and then name at least five things you are grateful for. Release expectations about list making and start where you are. Allow yourself to be delighted. Allow the wonder to enter in. Lastly, take your time and let the joy build over the days and weeks and months and...Keep this habit because these moments of remembering can bless you and those around you to create generational wellbeing...and more.
Holy God that is. Your life long love for us has sustained, maintained, inspired and nurtured our lives. May we find delight. May we find peace. May we find that deep belly joy and wonder in remembering our history in you. Our very breath is manna. May we find rest in our memories and let the praise story of You, oh God flow freely from our lips. Amen.
About the Author
Leslie Michele is a Chicago based, classically trained musician steeped in music that has grown out of the Black American experience. As a speaker, writer and performer, she has performed all over the world, and is dedicated to making music and crafting immersive, artistic experiences that facilitate change and transform society for the better. Additionally, she is a member of the band, The Many- an uncommon, intentionally diverse collective making music for people to sing together about peace and justice and a world where all belong.
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