My childhood family vacations alternated between driving 1,600 miles east to visit my paternal grandmother one summer, then 1,200 miles north to see my maternal grandmother the following summer. I loved reconnecting with various family members, but the biggest treat was riding in the back seat of our family car with my mother. We sang hymns and church camp songs, shared family stories, and rehearsed genealogy so I would remember how everyone was related.
This “Hallelujah Psalm” invites us to do the same on a grander scale: to sing praises to God, remember what God has done in history and in our own lives, and to rehearse the history of those who have gone before us. Like our ancestors in faith, we are called to
Thank God! Pray to [God] by name!
Tell everyone you meet what [God] has done!
Sing [God] songs, belt out hymns,
translate [God’s] wonders into music!
Honor [God’s] holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for [God’s] works;
be alert for signs of [God’s] presence. (the message)
We each have our own ways of acting out our faith. How do you thank God, pray, tell, and sing about God’s work and wonders? What do you do to honor God’s name? To seek God and be alert to God’s presence? Choose a focus for your week from this psalm.
For instance, if you decide to “Keep your eyes open for God,” you might take time each day to name how you have seen and experienced God. This could be written, shared with a friend, or a silent prayer of thanksgiving. If you want to sing to God, make time to belt out old hymns or new songs.
Hallelujah, God! Thank you for all you’ve done for me. I want to be mindful of your great works. Amen.
Moses has fled Egypt and is living in the desert, where God calls him to return and free the Israelites. Moses resists, but God does not relent. In many of the Psalms, the psalmist reviews God’s record of faithfulness. Psalm 105 is no different and highlights the calling of Moses. In Romans, Paul addresses practical ethical concerns. How should we treat those who treat us poorly? We should never repay evil for evil, but instead should bless those who harm us. This goes against our natural instincts, yet the gospel is countercultural and calls us to a higher standard. In Matthew, Peter has just had a tremendous moment in declaring his faith in Christ. Now he stumbles in failing to understand that Jesus’ path to glory will pass through suffering.
Read Exodus 3:1-15. What sacred encounter might have been your burning bush? How did you know God’s presence was with you in the encounter?
Read Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b. How does obedience to God shape your life? Recall an instance where your obedience to God’s call or teachings made a difference.
Read Romans 12:9-21. When has working toward a common goal helped you better love your family, friends, or community?
Read Matthew 16:21-28. When have you had to trust God and accept that you “have no idea how God works”? How did your trust help you through the situation?
Respond by posting a prayer.
Whitney Simpson offers a wide-open doorway into embodied practice and awakens us to the long-held wisdom of our tradition that our bodies are sacred places where God meets us and dwells. Fully Human, Fully Divine is a true Christmas gift!”
Click here to learn more about our newest Advent book and eCourse.