I love the word dwelling. It invites and it implies resting, enjoying, pausing, pondering, and making oneself at home. My own history of packing and moving, relocating, and making homes in new places has sometimes made me envy those who dwell in one place for many years and their sense of knowing, being known, and belonging in that place. My envy was assuaged when a beloved mentor pointed out that there have always been those who settle and those who roam. The two ways of life, she reminded me, are different callings. Those who move about may learn valuable resilience, that change need not be merely loss, and that God, more than any place on earth, is our dwelling place.
That conversation helped me consider my moves and changes in a new light and with a larger perspective. Though “uprooting” myself and my family has had its costs, over time it has deepened my dependence on this truth: God is our dwelling place. The words of two different psalms stay with me: “Though I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy right hand shall hold me” (Ps. 139:9-10, ap). Wherever I go, God meets me there. In today’s passage, the psalmist writes, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love.” Every day we awake in God’s light. Even if we wake up in strange places in our travels, in new apartments, or in provisional accommodations, among all that is temporary the love that surrounds us is “steadfast.” It is our dwelling place. We are held there, found and familiar and at home.
Loving God, you are our home. Teach us and remind us of that truth as we go our ways, some winding and wandering and uncertain. Help us to dwell in your steadfast love and to seek our security not in our own plans and devices but in you. Amen.
The end of Deuteronomy completes the story of the life of Moses. Although he led the people out of Egypt, he is not allowed to enter the Promised Land because he lost his temper in the desert. The difficult task of leading the people back to the land will fall to Joshua. The psalmist calls out to God for mercy because the people have been suffering as a result of their disobedience. Paul defends himself against the charge that he has been preaching out of a desire for fame or money. The approval he seeks comes only from God. Jesus has yet another confrontation with religious leaders attempting to trick him. He avoids their schemes and emphasizes that love of God and love of neighbor summarize the entire law.
Read Deuteronomy 34:1-12. When has a leadership transition in your faith community been difficult for you? When has it been sacred?
Read Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17. How do you make God your dwelling place?
Read 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8. How can you strive to love those whom you have never met? How can you meet new people with love as siblings?
Read Matthew 22:34-46. How do you wrestle with the Bible? When have your questions strengthened your faith or revealed something new?
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