Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.
Abundance…or scarcity…There is so much scarcity in the world that its hard to not view the world through that lens. One needs only look at the realities of life for many in the world who do not have enough – enough food, enough shelter, enough clean water, enough clothing, enough of anything that so many of us (myself included) take for granted. At the same time, it is easy to look at life ONLY through a lens of scarcity and miss some of the abundance that is around us. This Psalm led me to think about abundance – it’s a tremendous song of recognition of the many blessings that God has brought about – God’s person, God’s actions, God’s holiness, God’s love, God’s awesomeness, God’s graciousness, God’s mercy…As I reflected upon this abundance, I felt the Lord speaking to me about the abundance of beauty around us. It is so easy to miss how much beauty is all around us, especially as we have our eyes focused downward on our phones or gadgets. When we have our eyes cast downwards we miss the beauty that is everywhere.
My thoughts moved to the movie, American Beauty and two parts in particular – this scene about a plastic bag caught in the wind –
and then the following quote from one of the other characters…
it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.
When I returned from my Credo conference yesterday, I saw a stunning sight. The Irises that my wife planted around our house are in full bloom. All of them blooming at once – a beautiful array of purple flowers reflecting, to me, the beauty of the Creator. “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart…”