S (Scripture): Psalm 95
1 Come, let’s sing out loud to the Lord!
Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let’s come before him with thanks!
Let’s shout songs of joy to him!
3 The Lord is a great God,
the great king over all other gods.
4 The earth’s depths are in his hands;
the mountain heights belong to him;
5 the sea, which he made, is his
along with the dry ground,
which his own hands formed.
O (Observation): Very much centered on God as Creator, this psalm gives thanks and praise to God. Coming from a background that seems fairly stable, this psalm was likely written in a time of peace for God’s people.
Times were not always so for God’s people, but when they got the chance to simply praise God, they did.
A (Application): Getting away and giving thanks and praise to God are part of the Christian life. Retreating and centering one’s life – whether that retreat be a weekend worship service, or a pilgrimage like the ELCA Youth Gathering (coming up in Houston in June 2018) or the ELCA Rostered Ministers Gathering (happening now in Atlanta) – is essential for our physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. We need some time away to quiet our minds and separate ourselves from the demands on our time.
Giving thanks to God is a natural thing for a Christian, even (or especially) in times of doubt or uncertainty. Acknowledging that God watches over us and never lets us drown is of key importance to us.
As I read this psalm, I couldn’t help but think of the times I’ve sung this psalm in retreat (read: worship). Lots of YouTube videos of many different arrangements of this psalm exist.
Let this be a reminder that our Lutheran liturgy is not some standalone material fabricated by folks in fancy robes. Rather, the words are mined from the Mountain of scripture before us. Some digging had to be done, to discover the gems that lay inside the Scruptires already. No need to re-create. Re-fashion into song? Yes. But re-create? No.
P (Prayer): Lord, you are amazing and all of your creation is good. Help us to preserve this earth and respect all you have created. Amen.