Good morning everyone. I pray you have all had a good and safe week. I enjoyed my vacation, spending time in GR and visiting a classmate and her husband in Aurora, IL (a suburb of Chicago). I give thanks to Chris J who lead this week's Bible Study.
This Sunday we will read and hear from Psalm 25. The sermon title that the UCC suggests is "God's Loving Paths." And I think that is a great title to go with, for as you probably know, I am all about the journey.
The Bible is full of stories of journey. Many of our best loved movies/books are all about journey ("Alice in Wonderland", "Wizard of Oz", the Star Wars series). And then there are the personal, emotional, journeys we go on. From a pop culture point of view, Americans have watched superstar Britney Spears go on a journey that has been filled with many emotional valleys and peaks. As much as we love to knock people down, we also love it when they get back up.
Today, I invite you to think of your own personal journey. Then I invite you to read Psalm 25. Pay attention to vs 1-3 and vs. 16-20. See how they are filled with references to enemies, shame, treachery, troubles, distress, affliction and sins? I like to think of theses verses as two sides of a dangerous wilderness. I see vs. 1-3 and 16-20 as danger on the left and danger on the right.
But verses 4-15? A pathway through the forest. A roadway of love. A safe clearing in which the way has been paved with bricks made out of words like teach, truth, salvation, mercy, steadfast love, remember me, goodness' sake, good, upright, humble, covenant, sake, pardon, teach, prosperity.
Isn't that cool! It is as if the writer of the Psalm is purposely using the set up of the poem to say "Hey, on either side of you there will be enemies and adversity. But stick with God, for in the middle of all that fuss and gunk, God is making a path, God is a clearing a way for you, and look at all the good things it is made with: truth and love, humility and pardoning of sins.
And what is the outcome? Where does such a path lead? To verses 21 and 22 "May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all its troubles."
The path that God cuts out of adversity and enemies is one that ultimately leads to redemption and preservation.
As Christians, we would say the path lead to the Cross (where we are redeemed) and then beyond to the Resurrection.
May God bless you on your journey today and ever more,Pastor G