Eighty-six years ago today my parents married in the city of Havana. Every time I look at their wedding picture, I think of the psalmist’s words in verse 16: “Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.” One day while in my teens, my mother confessed that I had not been a planned child. Really? Then she went on to say that I was actually unexpected grace.
The technological revolution of our times gives us the idea that we have absolute control of life. And yet as we face the contingency of each day we must frequently recall our creature- liness in the face of a Presence that transcends time and space.
The last two verses offer a timely climax with the two petitions: “search me” and “lead me.” It is a dialectic process in which we know and, at the same time, we are known. Paul writes to the Galatian Christians, “Now . . . you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God” (4:9).
Instead of fearing transparency, total openness guarantees meaningful guidance. This transparency encourages the psalm- ist to submit gladly to God’s examination: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.”
Each of us comes into the world as an “unexpected” grace from God. This psalm focuses on strong relation. This God pur- sues, offering health and well-being, having knit us together in the womb. Indeed we are fearfully wonderful! Such knowing is beyond us. Yet, as we “come to the end—[we are] still with [God].” Thanks be to God.
Dear Father, may I nd the way everlasting through total openness to you. Amen.
This week’s texts depict a broad span of settings of God’s activity, from Jacob’s encounter in solitude to the broader context of creation itself in Romans. The texts also tell of God’s commission of human agents, weak and inadequate, to carry out divine tasks. Jacob may not be totally aware of God’s plans for him, but the reader knows. Paul declares that the people in whom the Spirit of God dwells are very much in tune with the pain of creation. They also long for God’s nal deliverance. Just at the point of the reluctance of God’s agents to carry out the tasks, the parable from Matthew about the wheat and weeds gives hope. God will take care of the weeds in God’s own time. Psalm 139 is a moving statement on the ubiquitous nature of God’s presence.
• Read Genesis 28:10-19a. When have you “wakened” to acknowledge that you were in a holy place? What did you do to memorialize the place?
• Read Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24. Do you regularly take time in a set-aside place for an intimate relationship with God? If not, what steps could you take to ensure that relationship?
• Read Romans 8:12-25. Do you feel close enough to God to call God “Abba”? Why or why not?
• Read Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. What are you doing to discourage the growth of evil in your life? How does your garden grow?
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