Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone!

I meant to post one last time about my Lenten project, which was to read ALL the Psalms. I did complete it, and achieve that goal! There is one more Psalm that I discovered, Psalm 32, which really spoke to me:

Psalm 32 (New International Version, ©2011), Psalm 32,Of David.

1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.[b]

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the LORD.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.

6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the LORD’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!

I'm glad I undertook reading the Psalms for Lent.

One practice that many people have over Lent is to study the "Stations of the Cross." I had the chance to teach my daughters about them on our recent trip to New Mexico, which happened to fall on Holy Week. We visited the Cathedral in Santa Fe, which has stations that are similar in style to this image of St Veronica with Jesus. I was able to teach them how to recognize her, and when they saw her again in another church we visited they knew who she was. This Colonial Spanish style of religious art is one of my favorites. It's so vivid and colorful!

We got back to Philadelphia in time for Easter, which was beautiful with blooming flowers and springtime. I saw this carving on my favorite religious art site, "Idle Speculations" [Happy Easter, Terry!], and remembered all over again why I love religious art so much. The wood looks to me like it is alive, and reminds me of the wooden entombment sculptures that inspired me to start blogging. I have come to believe that the Easter miracle takes away the sadness we see in those faces, the surprise on Mary Magdalene's face was real, but so was the joy of her realization that Jesus was risen. Happy Easter!

P.S. Because of the tardiness of this post, I can now comment on the British Royal Wedding, and say that I'm so stoked that they included two of my favorite hymns, Jerusalem, and "Guide me oh Thou Great Redeemer" [can't find clip of that at the mo']. Just beautiful. Perfect for the Easter season.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Psalm 121

Here's another new (to me) Psalm. Beautiful. [As my Lenten practice this year I am reading through all the Psalms.] I have discovered some gems!

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121 (New International Version, ©2011)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm Discovering the Psalms

So far, this is one of my favorite Psalms that I've encountered during my Lenten project of reading all the psalms within ~30 days (I was late to the game). I had never taken the time to read them one by one before.

[This version is called "The Message" which I've linked to below, there are other, "more standard" versions out there. My prayerbook has the "New International" version, which I've also linked to below.]


Psalm 103 - A David Psalm

1-2 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don't forget a single blessing!

3-5 He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence.

6-18 God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he's rich in love.
He doesn't endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we're made of mud.
Men and women don't live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.
God's love, though, is ever and always,
eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
as they follow his Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever he said.

19-22 God has set his throne in heaven;
he rules over us all. He's the King!
So bless God, you angels,
ready and able to fly at his bidding,
quick to hear and do what he says.
Bless God, all you armies of angels,
alert to respond to whatever he wills.
Bless God, all creatures, wherever you are—
everything and everyone made by God.

And you, O my soul, bless God!

this "The Message" version found here

the "New International" version found here