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.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Morning Meds--Our dwelling place

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place 
throughout all generations.” Psalm 84:1

Today we start on a journey. We won’t be gone long—only two days—but it’s perilous, and the stakes are high. We’re trying to affect a change, again, in a battle we’ve been fighting for years. We’re hoping that this journey will change things, nudge aside the woeful indecision that so often accompanies depression.

My wife and I are both afraid it won’t change anything, that this new venture, like others, will be a sordid failure; but we’re confident that what we’re doing—or trying to do—is what we should be doing because it’s a step that has to be taken.

Right now—amid all the fear—both of us are blessed by this assurance: we know—scared as we are—that right now, right this moment, we’re doing the right thing.

The perilous nature of my thanks this morning is that as risky and futile as it might be, our short journey together is, doggone it, the best thing, if not the only thing we can do. We don’t have a choice, really. We’re hoping and praying, as always, for real blessing.

When you step into this first memorable verse of this wonderfully memorable psalm, it’s no wonder why Psalm 90 has brought the peace it has to so many for so many years. The affirmation of this first line sweeps along with such force that I feel as if I can ride on the eagle-winged glory of its affirmation, even today on our own perilous journey.

This is the truth, Lord, says Moses, the writer to whom the Word itself gives credit—this is plain and undeniable fact: you, God, have been our only comfort, you’ve been the place in which we’ve lived, throughout all generations.

When I stumble through this verse (it’s a humbling experience, I think), what comes to mind is generations of believers in my own family.  I lack the bouncy joy of a brand new convert to faith, but I am ever thankful to be the descendent of generations, literally, of faithful believers. As far back as I can trace my own family tree, faith, the Christian faith, has been an ever-present part of the character of my ancestry. Faith is always a gift, but never a given.

Today we start on a journey. We won’t be gone long—only two days—but this journey is perilous, and the stakes are high.

I know. I’ve said that before. But this morning—a Sunday morning—I am, as I’ve already said, deadly afraid of failure that is very, very real.

About an arm’s reach away from where I sit is a portrait of my great-grandfather, a preacher. Back behind me a wonderful South Dakota homestead portrait of my great-grandparents on yet another side, believers too, a family who came to this country for reasons of faith.

I can’t take those people along on this journey we’re taking this morning. Their pictures will do me—and us—no real good because those good folks are dead and gone. Perhaps they’re asking the Lord this morning for a blessing for us, great-grandchildren none of them ever knew nor could imagine. What do any of us really know about life after death?

What I do know is it’s great joy to read these words this Sunday morning. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.” The psalmist’s words ae a joy because a great cloud of witnesses, in peril, has trusted, have believed, have invested their confidence and their joy, just as I am this morning, in the same Lord God, the same deliverer, the same eternal Father.

You’ve been there for generations, Lord—that’s the undeniable truth we’ll pack along.

This meditation was not written this morning. The trek we began the Sunday morning I wrote this is long over. That it is, is but another reason to say what Psalm 90:1 always does, even when the sky looks as dark as it does this morning. (I just took that picture at the top of the page.)

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