Many coastal cities in the U.S. approach hurricane season with heavy hearts. The winds and water have broken them once or many times before—crushing homes and lives, washing away memories. This psalm demonstrates that power—but also the power of God for majesty. Like the psalmist who describes the natural event, our closest human experience is that of the raging storm, flood, earthquake, or fire. It’s frightening, to be sure, but also majestic in its power and humbling in its strength. Consider the last actual storm you witnessed. Can you resonate with the psalmist’s description of awe in a Creator whose voice “breaks the cedars,” “flashes forth flames of fire,” “shakes the wilderness,” “causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare”? These seemingly chaotic acts of nature are not intended to incite a fear-based worship of God but rather to remind us of God’s ability. In our human experience, we ought to look to that which we can see: hurricanes, fires, wind, floods, in order to understand a fraction of the strength of that which we cannot see: God.
The psalmist invites us to glorify God in order to remember that God’s strength is ours too. It “thunders” just as I imagine it did in Creation. How often do we approach God with such a humble posture?
God, how incredible it is to know the majesty of your power. Help us to remember your strength—which, in turn, is our strength. Amen.
This week’s readings use both water and wind (Spirit) in a variety of ways. Water and wind are present in the Genesis story of God's bringing order out of chaos. Both the epistle and Gospel bring images of water in baptism and with the Spirit present. The psalmist invokes the voice of God thundering over waves and causing trees to shake. In the account of Jesus’ baptism, that same voice breaks through to proclaim that Jesus is God’s Son, the Beloved. Also, in the middle of this week, we celebrate Epiphany with Isaiah's inspiring vision of dawn breaking and the invitation to arise and shine because Light has come to us.
Read Genesis 1:1-5. Where have you seen God bringing order out of chaos in your life? What are the situations in your life or in our world that seem formless or chaotic now? Can you see God working to bring order in those situations?
Read Psalm 29. How do you respond to the powerful images of God’s action reflected in this psalm?
Read Acts 19:1-7. How would you answer Paul’s question: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became [a believer]?” How do you see the Spirit active in your life?
Read Mark 1:4-11. Can you hear God saying to you, “You are my child, the beloved; with you I am well pleased”? How does it feel to imagine God saying those words to you?
Responda publicando una oración.