The city of God, Jerusalem, and the Temple are inextricably connected in the minds of the people of Israel. Some beauty of the city emanates from the wondrous reality that God dwelled in the Temple (though not exclusively). The Temple served as a place to remember and recount God’s victorious deeds as God established, protected, and guided the people of God.
The people of Israel viewed those powerful deeds of God as a sign of God’s steadfast love. Translations of verse 9 employ a variety of verbs to describe the act of remembering and recounting: ponder, meditate, contemplate, reflect, have thought of. All the actions imply a sense of active waiting, which may seem hard to do. Choose one of the verbs that feels comfortable to you and consider when and where you find it easiest to practice.
This process of reflection connects to what God has done in the past. Looking back with the intent of seeing God’s hand at work plays a role in the kind of pondering that took place in the Temple and that we are invited to do today. Connecting God’s past actions with God’s love is another aspect of contemplation.
Some people ponder best when their hands are busy, perhaps with gardening, knitting, or washing dishes. Some people reflect most easily when their bodies are engaged in walking, running, swimming, or biking. Others reflect by writing journal entries or poetry, or through music and other creative activities. The psalms result from such pondering. Individuals thought about God’s actions and love and sang of what they had been thinking about. The psalms offer an excellent aid to pondering because they give us language to express the connection between God’s action and God’s love.
Guiding God, help me reflect on your love and your action in my life. Amen.
The readings from the Hebrew scriptures this week celebrate the city of Jerusalem. This was the capital of the great King David, who united the ancient Israelites and built up the city. The psalmist praises Jerusalem using the image of Zion. Zion is a name used for earthly Jerusalem, but it is also a gesture toward a future day when God’s people will abide in a heavenly city. In Second Corinthians, Paul explains that even though he is an apostle, he still struggles like everyone else. Wild speculation surrounds the “thorn” that plagued Paul, but his point is that when he is weakest, God is strongest. In Mark we see God’s power working through Jesus, who sent out others to expand God’s healing work.
• Read 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10. The king of Israel exhibited the qualities of a shepherd. How do those qualities square with your experience with those in power?
• Read Psalm 48. Bring to mind a place where you experience God’s presence. Do you find yourself drawn there? Why?
• Read 2 Corinthians 12:2-10. When have you experienced a weakness becoming a source of power?
• Read Mark 6:1-13. When have you limited God’s power through your disbelief?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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