The history most of us learn in school takes us from war to war, from conqueror to king, and shows us how governments and empires rise and fall. It is an important narrative, but it is generally told from the point of view of the privileged victors. To trace the hand of God in history is to understand the events of the past in very different terms. It is to consider the great mystery of creation and forgiveness, intervention, and loving provision that continues in all that grow and die, mutate, and emerge and blossom and erupt—to recognize the Source of all human achievement without whom there would be nothing.
When the psalmist prays, “May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children” (niv), perhaps the psalmist is asking God to open our eyes to see more truly those things we think we know. It takes trained, prayerful awareness to recognize the thread of grace in failure, suffering, and tedium. Quakers learn to ask what is “of God” in any event they encounter. A pastor I know asks himself in any new situation what God may be “up to.” My spiritual director has taught me to watch expectantly each day for what comes from God for learning and healing.
Though I still fret about my frustrations, I have found that when I watch for God and remember that God is “more present than we think,” I more often recognize God’s surprising deeds for what they are. As we learn to practice the presence of God in this way, it may be that our children will grow more readily aware of the splendor that lovingly abounds in the light and darkness that enfolds us.
Creator God, help us to recognize the wisdom of your deeds and the splendor of your divine imagination in nature, in human stories, and even in the hardest of times. 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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