My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and make melody. Psalm 108:1
Yesterday Alan and I went to the Church of Christ down the street. And the stained glass window was certainly a pretty humble version of what I saw in my wanderings, but our worship songs were led by some pretty stellar bluegrass fiddling and the summer offerings went towards helping some poor Vietnamese villagers continue clearing their lands of unexploded ordnance leftover from the war. And the short thoughtful sermon on Jesus sending out the twelve and telling them if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them. But mostly, we prayed the Lord’s Prayer and spoke Peace to one another and sang the doxology, And were one. And it was good to be reminded that we are His disciples and that we are sent out to preach repentance.
And I know that repent means to re-see.
One of the olde tyme songs was about needing to sing and I was distracted by the idea of singing and my severe lack of it in my heart. Which is indeed a grievous thing reflective of a general attitude of critical analysis rather than childlike gratitude. And taking offense. And Jesus was unable to do mighty works in Nazareth because of the critical analysis attitude of his hometown.
And surely He must marvel at my unbelief as well. So much goodness heaped high onto my plate and I spend my time sorting the colors and sifting for additives or whatever. And pushing away from the table too quickly to scrape and rinse and put the dirty utensils tidily into the dishwasher rather than savoring the moment. It is pretty much the preset button on my machine.
Of this I repent.
And at Pamela’s swearing in ceremony at Calvin Coolidge’s birthplace, the one where she promised to bear arms on behalf of the United States, I noticed the slightly overlong speeches and the fact that no one seemed to be wearing a watch and managing time and really, did they think that we wanted to lay a wreath on the tomb after lunch? Rather than noticing the three-year-old boy in a slicked up navy suit and tie from Bhutan with his father and very pregnant mother sitting right in front of us. And he kept running back to his grandpa next to us and giving him a big hug. Or the very animated Peruvian lady on the other side of Pamela who wanted to make sure that everyone followed the rules exactly so that everything would go off perfectly. But the one I really needed to notice was the first guy from Pakistan with the funny hat who practically did a jig of joy across the stage. And then I needed to notice the backstories of these nineteen people. And remember the over three million refugees from Syria flooding Turkey and Lebanon and Jordan and the almost 1000 illegal immigrants who landed in Italy after threatening to throw babies into the sea if their ship was turned back. And even my ancestors who made their way by ship across that big ocean so many years ago. And no wonder Jon and Pamela were a little teary-eyed.
Of this I repent.
O God, you have taught me to keep all your commandments by loving You and my neighbor: Grant me the grace of your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart, and united to others with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and make melody.