Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


I find this wonderful. Calvin, on Psalm 48:3: "God, in her palaces [the palaces of Mt. Zion], has made Himself known as a stronghold" (NAM version).

"By these words, the people of God are taught, that although they dwell in strongholds and palaces, they must, nevertheless, be carefully on their guard, that this magnificience or loftiness may not shroud or conceal from their view the power of God;. . ."

Just because God's people--maybe American Christians especially--find themselves sheltered and blessed by God almighty, he says, they should never lose sight of the fact that--given their wisdom, their wealth, their safety, their joy--God himself is bigger, which is to say, greater. We may think we've arrived, but when compared to his glory, we're a sorry mess because he is God, and, quite shockingly, we aren't.

But there's more.

". . .We ought to meditate with special attention on this doctrine," Calvin says, "that whatever we possess that seems worthy of being prized, must not be permitted to obscure the knowledge of the power and grace of God;. . ."

Maybe humility is too much to ask of those who feel chosen, but humility--true shock and awe--is what Calvin finds essential in this line from Psalm 48. He might just say that we need to take seriously the first line of the ancient doxology--"praise God from whom all blessings flow."

And yet a little more: "The glory of God ought always clearly to shine forth in all the gifts with which we may be pleased to bless and adorn us; so that we may account ourselves rich and happy in him, and nowhere else."

God is always bigger, always greater, always wiser, always more full of glory than we think we know or even imagine, even when we find ourselves standing on the proud battlements at the very peak of Mt. Zion.

Even when we think we know, we don't. Only God does. Easy to say. Hard to swallow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeesh! What makes us think we're so great in the first place, that we need to double check to make sure that we're still letting God be greater than we are?!