December 9, 2010
As we continue thinking about our theme, Dreaming, you are invited to consider what the people of the time might have been dreaming about in connection with the coming of the Messiah. This time, to help bring a different part of the brain into the reflection, a suggestion is to take a piece of scratch paper and pencil. Just have it handy beside you. Try reading through the scripture three separate times. Each time, see if a particular word or phrase stands out more than any other, almost as if it rises, shimmering, in your mind. Jot it down if you like. Take a moment to breathe deeply, and come into prayer when you are relaxed and centered.
Prayer: "Praise the Lord! You are the Lord whose realm was in Israel's dreams when the Psalms were written, and who we worship today. Let me dream alongside your people of all generations, Lord. Amen."
Praise for God's Help, Psalm 146
" 1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, my soul.
2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD. "
This is one of those Psalms written as an extravagant hymn of praise to be used in community, sung at temple worship. Its message exalting God's reign differs from many of the other praise psalms, though, in that it contrasts God not with false deities but with human leaders. In it, the people dream of a time and a fulfillment far beyond the promises of any earthly king.
Thinking of the word or phrase that surfaced and stayed with you while reading this psalm, try this for a closing prayer: go back and pray Psalm 146 as if it were a personal prayer original to you. Emphasize or linger on your word or phrase if you like.
Finally, share with God what your own dreams are.
I give thanks for every one of you!
Further reading for today:
2 Peter 3:11-18