To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
Lord, you were favourable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Selah Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13
Speaking peace. We continue to be a restless people, a battling people, a vengeful people. It feels as though the legacy we pass from one generation to the next is speaking of ways to wage more effective, more efficient, more destructive wars. And yet…there is more to the legacies we inherit and later pass down. There is a still, small voice crying out for peace. This plea is as close as our next breath.
I don’t know if it’s me and where I am, or my life experience and my age, but I am more and more aware of the anger and unrest I see in the world. Here in Atlanta many of us drive regularly on the perimeter. It is literally a road that takes us in a circle. Many of us use it to get from work and back, to get from here to there and back again. And the symbolism of spending my life driving in circles isn’t lost on me as I drive round and round again. We scurry on ~ looking ahead, white knuckling it through to get where we are going.
In this finishing autumn and soon to be wintertime, just where are we going?
The psalmist encourages us to choose to exit from our practice of moving endlessly in circles and stop. Just for this moment, just for this time ~ stop. We are encouraged to listen (as if for the first time) for the One who speaks peace.
“Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet,” and “righteousness and peace will kiss each other.” Oh, if it could be so. What would shift in our hearts if those images came alive in us? What would change if those connective guides would serve as our compass now in these waiting, Advent days? Would we see change in our lifetime for the better? Would we witness changes in and around us for the good?
Frederick Buechner reminds us that peace isn’t the absence of war, but the presence of balance. Peace is experienced when we find again our lives to be centered in love. Peace is inviting us to live in balance from the inside-out.
Here in this time of waiting for the Promise One, we are called to look with intention in our hearts. “Making a path for the steps” of the One who is coming, means we are called to live so that light can shine in the darkness. Here and now we are invited to quit with the white-knuckle-circle driving and wake up to this one precious life that has been given to us.
What does it mean to have steadfast love? To have faithfulness? How would our spirits awaken within us if we took part in joining righteousness and peace together ~ if we were to witness them actually kissing one another?
Breath prayer: “speaking” “peace”
Almighty and Gracious God you are the giver of life. Your compassion for your people has been sung throughout history. And we are ever thankful. Create in us we pray, a passion for righteousness and for peace. May we live this day with thankful hearts, loving and serving you. Amen.
believes in beginnings and beginning again, in holding on and letting go, in God's presence as close as our next breath. Lesley works as a hospice Bereavement Coordinator in Atlanta. She is an ordained minister in the UCC and has just completed her second book, "Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon in 29 Days" (to be released early in 2015).