This morning I opened my Book of Common Prayer as usual, preparing my mind for prayer with candles burning and the silence of my prayer corner, upstairs and away from household noise.
In the Book of Common Prayer 2011, the Psalter reading for Day 22's Morning Prayer consists of Psalm 107 which begins:
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble....
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man.
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry he fills with good things.
(Psalm 107:1-2; 8-9, ESV)So although I'm not posting on the usual Monday, we can (and should) thank God for his goodness all the time.
But what about when His goodness doesn't seem "good" to us?
Pastor Rollo, now senior pastor at La Vina Community Church in Miami, always repeated this modern antiphon:
Leader: God is good, all the time.Sometimes, when pain wracks deep, hands ache from writing, God's all-the-time goodness seems more obscure.
People: All the time, God is good.
Sometimes, when bills mount and cash flow trickles, when pantry empties and fridge bares white shelves, His goodness is more difficult to see, more difficult to believe.
Sometimes, when boys argue and feelings are injured, when chaos seems to reign rather than peace and order, God's goodness shields itself behind noise and angry words.
But in these "sometimes," faith builds, flexing muscles and strengthening. If God's goodness was always under our noses, vivid and obvious, would we truly see it? Or would it be all-to-easy to ignore, to put off for another day?
It's when we have to peer through the obscuring fog of pain, through the financial struggles that seem to dim His light, through the loudness that appears to veil His gracious whispers.... It's when we seek His goodness that we truly find it, recognize it, celebrate its surprising arrival.
Obscured. Dimmed. Shielded. But there. Oh, so there.
So as "he satisfies the longing soul," we offer our thanks along with the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience on the journey to One Thousand Gifts.
With gratitude to God for...
531. ...the grace of the handwritten letter, time and love invested into envelope, stamped with blessing
532. ...the freedom of summer--classes over, grades submitted, long-neglected books begging to be read
533. ...rebuilding relationships with old and dear friends via Facebook and e-mail
534. ...the apparent need for ordering a second printing of the Book of Common Prayer 2011 and the joy of sharing the praying of God's Word with those within and without Anglican practice
535. ...the flicker of candle, prayers rising gently with transparent curls of lavender-scented smoke
536. ...bunches of apples, quarter-sized, maturing on our Pippin apple tree
537. ...the return of parents after two months away out-of-state
538. ...joy-filled kids who laugh and joke, fuss and fight, stretching and teaching my mothering mind and heart
539. ...the grace of time and rest and, yes, even triple-digit summer heat
540. ...the burgeoning of slivers of colored glass slowly gathering into stained glass beauty, capturing and splitting light and warmth as Keith works the new window
So as God's goodness creeps into dank corners, bringing light to darkness and joy to sorrow, we can offer raised hearts of thanks and praise, recognizing and basking in the glorious obscurity of His Grace.
With gratitude, this day and always,