December 9th, 2016 by Christopher Caudle
Originally sent to parish via email on 11-18-16
This past week, the Thursday small group spent some time looking at the Psalms of Thanksgiving that are sprinkled through the Psalter. Examples include Psalms of individuals like Psalm 18, 30, 31, 32, 40, 66, 92, 116, 118, 120 and Psalms for the community like Psalm 65, 66, 107, 118, 124, 129. (Here is a helpful chart that describes how these psalms are structured.)
These special psalms go perfectly with a particular set of moments in life.
They go beyond just praise, because they describe a crisis or problem that has surrounded the believer.
They go beyond just lament, because these psalms are sung only after the crisis has been resolved.
In the safety of the Lord's salvation and rescue, the singer tells the whole story, paying attention both to the scary events that threatened them and to God's role in bringing their deliverance.
One key feature of these psalms, whether written for an individual or a community, is that they usually make a point to tell others what has happened to them and especially to share how God has been good to them.
If everything is going great, these psalms won't quite fit. But if you heard from an estranged family member, or got a job after a long search, or your spouse recovered from surgery or you just crossed the Atlantic ocean in a wooden boat and had strangers share hospitality and food, they may be just right.
Here is a video that may help cement the idea. (If you don't like snakes, this might not be for you. I promise it does have a happy ending, so don't lose hope in the middle.)
Two things about the video that connect back to our own opportunities to give thanks.
First, keep going. Through the obstacles and dangers. Do not give up. Wriggle, jump, sit still, climb, zigzag, persevere. Ask for help. Borrow a shoulder to cry on. Find a strong friend to lean on. Get four friends to carry you. But do not quit. The little iguana keeps going. No amount of resistance is enough to dissuade it. The iguana may be moving by instinct, but the feeling you have as you watch and hope and cheer is more than just instinct. Perseverance is an essential grace.
Second, when you are free and safe, tell someone about your day. Whisper it, yell it, sing it, shout it. Let someone share your experience of both the trouble and the salvation. Let the people of God know how God has been active for his people. Your listening friend may still be in their trouble and need encouragement. They may think you did this all yourself and not be aware of how much God sustained you. They may just wonder why you were late to the top of the rock.
It is good for you and for them.
They may say, "I knew you could do it." They may say, "I thought you were done for." They may say, "How did you ever survive?" And then you can give thanks.
Please pray for Bishop Carl while he is in Rwanda this week. He arrived safely and will return on Wednesday evening. Please pray for his work there and for him and the other leaders who are gathering.
Join us this Sunday as we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King and prepare for Advent with Take Home a Tradition. We will have pizza after the service and then you can make your advent wreath, and children will get information about our Children's Pageant, hear a Christmas story and learn about the humble ministry of St. Nicholas. We have candles for the first 30 participants and advent wreaths for those just beginning this tool of prayer and preparation. If you have a ring, please bring it with you. Advent begins next week, November 27th.
Join us on Thursday for a Service of Thanksgiving and Holy Communion on November 24th at 9am. Fr. Dave McDaniel will lead this annual service.
grace and certain hope,