end of retreat thoughts
Psalm 119 is the longest song in the Bible, it is also the longest chapter and is an acrostic poem/ song. There are lots of facts about psalm 119 that are interesting but distracting. In this Covid-19 season I have been reading through it. Each time I do I notice something new. In the first section for example I am drawn to the parallels with Psalm 1. Verses 33-40 are where I sit most, that expression of longing and yearning to keep the commandments of God.
The most real part of me is my soul, it is raw, hungry, thirsty and yearning. My physical body hurts this morning because I ran yesterday, in the rain. I will start sneezing later today and a cold will emerge because I know what happens when I run in the rain. If I could run forever in the rain, with enough breath I would be in that ecstatic joyful state Julian of Norwich wrote about. Julian makes the point that “love” and “joy” always accompany one another, because the love which is in God and is God, is ecstatic love. This ecstasy is what we call “joy.” Every soul really longs for the joy for which we were created, which is in effect a longing for God who is joy and the source of all joy. The soul cannot discover true joy in anything less than God.
God wants to surprise my soul, as I shelter in Kerry, He wants to invite me to something new. He wants to quench my thirst and bring my yearning to peaceful living. The invitation is there: to wait on Him and to Trust in Him. What do I need to pay attention to in this season? What is God saying to me? Am I spiritually mediocre? Have I lost something in this corona-led life?
I was at the checkout of my local shop yesterday, (picking up salad for lunch – go me!) and I went to get my phone to pay and it wasn’t there. Now I knew where it was because it is always with me. So I knew it had to be in the van. But what if it wasn’t? What if I had left it somewhere and forgotten it? What if I was so used to it being there I had lost the surprise in it? And I thought about it and wondered is that what it would feel like if I was losing my faith. Maybe I wouldn’t notice in the good times that my faith had left.
But then I think about running in the rain. I feel the pain in my gluts and quads, and I like it. Because it reminds me I ran yesterday.
Imagine running with God.
That brings me back, my faith is intact, my soul is not forgotten.
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,Psalm 119:33-40
that I may follow it to the end.[b]
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.[c]
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.