Being in relationship and conversation with someone who knows you well is a life-giving scenario. You do not have to hide or pretend. An air of confidence and understanding surrounds your interactions in a way that you cannot fully explain but only experience. Such is the atmosphere conveyed in this beloved psalm. The psalmist addresses God, recognizing God’s knowledge of his entire being. This affirmation of faith, seasoned with praise, can overcome the darkness of guilt and failure in any life.
The decision to enter into conversation with God is another indispensable element of growing in our discipleship. The psalm invites us to encounter and experience the God of the psalmist: a God who searches the depths of who we are and accompanies us at every turn. The terrain of life may change and the topography of our journey will vary, but God is there. When we decide to cultivate this kind of relationship with the Lord, we discover more and more who God is. We will discover at a deeper level our own identity as well, finding in this intimate connection the ability to live in a genuine and authentic way.
As I returned home one day, my young son came swooping around the corner dressed as Batman. It momentarily startled me. Noting my surprise, he said, “Ah, Dad, it’s not really Batman. Look underneath, and you’ll see it’s just me.”
God looks underneath it all, and God knows the real you. God loves the real you and wants you to love the real you each day. In dialogue with God we come to this tremendous realization that sets us free to live for Christ each day.
Living and loving God, dwell within me today and reveal yourself in new ways as I journey in your presence. Amen.
The Gospel lesson stresses the cost of disci- pleship. One of the costs involves family, but the implication is that there are compensations as well as costs. Belonging to God affects the way in which one belongs to others. Traditional pat- terns, kinship and otherwise, are transformed. This insight lies at the heart of Paul’s letter to Philemon concerning Philemon’s slave, Onesimus. Without directly requesting that Philemon set Onesimus free, Paul clearly suggests that the ties that bind per- sons as brothers and sisters in Christ transform traditional social patterns, including slavery. Both Jeremiah 18 and Psalm 139 af rm our belongingness to God, individually and corporately.
• Read Jeremiah 18:1-11. How has the “word of the Lord” come to you? What obstacles prevent you from placing your- self entirely in God’s hands?
• Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. How does your life evidence God’s handiwork?
• Read Philemon 1-21. What person or group needs your advocacy in the name of Christ?
• Read Luke 14:25-33. How have you counted the cost of fol- lowing Jesus?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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