Who is this God to whom we belong? In today’s reading, this God is proclaimed as the sovereign of the universe, “enthroned upon the cherubim.” This enthronement psalm recognizes God as the King of Israel, ruling from the heavens.
Yet, this mighty ruler is active and present in the world, in our lives. God does not sit on a heavenly throne watching over the creation. God is present with us, caring about the least and smallest of God’s creation. God is incarnate with us in love.
God is a lover—of wrens and humpback whales, of orchids and redwoods, of candle flames and galaxies, of tender newborns and wise old ones. God, creator of the universe, sovereign of our hearts, is present in every breath, every moment, every heartbeat.
Our response to this God is praise and gratitude. Holy are you, God of the universe, creator of 200 billion galaxies. We praise you, source of all. You loved creation into being, flinging stars across the darkness, forming the earth and its creatures with tender care. You knit us together in our mother’s womb. (See Psalm 139:13.) Before we were ever imagined, you knew us and loved us.
This God to whom we belong is a lover of justice, a fierce protector of the vulnerable. “Strong king who loves justice, you are the one who established what is fair” (ceb). Our response to this lover of justice is action. Holy are you, God of the universe, lover of justice, protector of the weak. We praise you, source of all, and we commit ourselves to be justice-seekers in this world that you created. You created us in your image and breathed into us life, love, and passion. May we, your beloved children, join with you as lovers of justice, working for good in the world in our thoughts, actions, and intentions.
What is my response to God, the lover of creation, the lover of justice?
Popular images often portray God as a passive grandfather figure. However, this is not the picture scripture provides. God’s presence has a profound impact on the physical world. In Exodus, Moses feels insecure about the calling on his life and asks to see God’s glory. God in part grants this request, but no one can experience the presence of God completely and live. The psalmist describes how God is exalted and how God’s holiness shakes the earth itself. The New Testament readings explore different themes. Paul opens his letter to the Thessalonians by commending them for their faith and partnership in the spreading of the gospel. In Matthew, the Pharisees attempt to trap Jesus in his words, yet he confounds their efforts.
Read Exodus 33:12-23. When have you struggled to believe that God is with you? How did you find a sign of God’s presence?
Read Psalm 99. How has God heard your cry? How can you listen with God for the cries of others?
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10. When does your faith call you to live in a countercultural way? How do you show the world how to live?
Read Matthew 22:15-22. You belong to God. How do you feel God’s call on your life?
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