March 5, 2023

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life—

    of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me

    to devour me,

it is my enemies and my foes

    who will stumble and fall.

Though an army besiege me,

    my heart will not fear;

though war break out against me,

    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,

    this only do I seek:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

    all the days of my life,

to gaze on the beauty of the Lord

    and to seek him in his temple.

For in the day of trouble

    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;

he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent

    and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted

    above the enemies who surround me;

at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;

    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;

    be merciful to me and answer me.

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”

    Your face, Lord, I will seek.

Do not hide your face from me,

    do not turn your servant away in anger;

    you have been my helper.

Do not reject me or forsake me,

    God my Savior.

Though my father and mother forsake me,

    the Lord will receive me.

Teach me your way, Lord;

    lead me in a straight path

    because of my oppressors.

Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,

    for false witnesses rise up against me,

    spouting malicious accusations.

I remain confident of this:

    I will see the goodness of the Lord

    in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

    be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord.

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time for blogging this week, so I'll leave you with a quick thought on Psalm 27. Yesterday I noticed that David references confidence twice in the psalm. As I have been preparing to head to Wheaton College for a week of class, I have had those moments of nerves and anxiety about what people will think of me and wanting to be evaluated well. Without a proper perspective, I can follow those temptations down trails of worry and fear. With a proper perspective - God called me to this program and has provided for me to be there; our professor is fantastic and committed to our learning and growth; the women in Propel 7 are the bee's knees and love me as much as I love them - I can have confidence.

It struck me that the confidence David advocates for isn't in his ability to muster up more faith or courage, but instead in focusing on the Lord, his provision, his presence, his power, his mercy, and his present and future promises. What a relief! My takeaway from Psalm 27, which I pass along to you for your edification as well, is this:

The opposite of fear is not faith;

it is confidence in the object of our faith!

Breathe today, child of God! He is faithful and near. In defiance of your fears and whatever or whoever assails you, speak truth about your Father, remember his deeds, wait for him and take heart. In David's words, "Seek his face!" God is not waiting for you to muster up faith and courage; he's offering you rest in him.

Shalom, this Sabbath day!

February 25, 2023

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I have been reading three psalms a week and sharing them on those social media platforms, typically on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  This past Thursday, I shared briefly about how we could use Psalm 23 as a prayer of confession and gave an example of what that might look like with verse one.  Today in a departure from my usual commentary, I invite you to join me in prayer as I work through the whole psalm to lead us in confession.  Psalm 23 is a psalm of trust and comfort; working through it as a prayer of confession, I believe, will increase our confidence and security in our Good Shepherd.  I'm going to speak in the first person so we can each read it for ourselves.  Rejoice to know that others will be agreeing with you in prayer as they too read and confess.

Join me in prayer.

Good Shepherd, have mercy on me, a sinner, for trying to be my own shepherd and for claiming credit for what your hand has provided. I'm sorry. Restore to me the joy of dwelling in your fold as your sheep. I give you thanks for my dependence and your supreme dependability.

Good Shepherd, have mercy on me, a sinner, for not receiving the rest and refreshment you offer to my body and soul by not sleeping enough, rushing around in busyness trying to prove myself, hanging on to worry and fear, and forgetting your promises and provision.  I'm sorry.  Restore to me the joy of surrendering to how you created me to need physical and spiritual rest.  I give you thanks that you offer me rest. 

Good Shepherd, have mercy on me, a sinner, for looking around when I am walking through difficult times and determining that the problems exceed your ability to protect and deliver.  Forgive me for putting you in a box, thinking you have abandoned me, and/or fearing the dark rather than remembering I am a child of Light, a sheep in your fold.  I'm sorry.  Restore to me the joy of knowing you have not left me nor that you will forsake me. I give you thanks for always being with me and the reminder that I'm only passing through the valley, it is not the end of the story.

Good Shepherd, have mercy on me, a sinner, for looking around at the good that seems to be happening to others, maybe even people who are against me, and missing the table you've prepared before me and that I am your chosen and beloved child.  Your blessings overflow to me in your pasture, but I look over the wall and think that grass is definitely greener.  I'm sorry.  Restore to me the joy of seeing your gifts and anointing for all that they are, expressions of your love for me. I give you thanks for how much you love and the lengths you go to to prove it to me.

Good Shepherd, have mercy on me, a sinner, for forgetting that you pursue me and have good prepared for me, perhaps even assuming that I don't deserve your affection or that I need to earn it. Forgive me for denying - by how I live - that I have a future with you and an all-day-every-day hope in Christ, that what I see is not what evermore will be and that my now and forever are as secure as Jesus is alive. I'm sorry. Restore to me the joy of the day I first believed, knew I was yours, received the Spirit, and was enveloped in your love. I give you thanks that I dwell in your presence now and eternally.
My Shepherd, I love you! King Jesus, I surrender to your shepherding. Thank you for Holy Spirit within to cheer and guide in this journey.  Help me to trust and honor you; thank you for always gently guiding me back.

February 19, 2023

Psalm 20

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;

    may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

May he send you help from the sanctuary

    and grant you support from Zion.

May he remember all your sacrifices

    and accept your burnt offerings.

May he give you the desire of your heart

    and make all your plans succeed.

May we shout for joy over your victory

    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:

    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.

He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary

    with the victorious power of his right hand.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

They are brought to their knees and fall,

    but we rise up and stand firm.

Lord, give victory to the king!

    Answer us when we call!

Psalm 20 is a kingship psalm. It's probably not one we will memorize or see on a bookmark. (Psalm 23 is coming up soon!) The more natural choice for this weeks blost would have been Psalm 19. It's great! But I chose 20 because it got me thinking about King David, his role and the role of the kings in Israel, God's people, and all of us being under the authority and care of Jehovah.

I picture this is a prayer being spoken over troops as they are being sent out to battle against one of the neighboring peoples. David, up above them in some way, speaking blessings over them, "May God ..." He is entrusting his men to the Lord and reminding them who is really in charge of the people, their protection, and the land. Then he moves on to his personal confidence that God will give him victory because he is the Lord's anointed. This is not arrogance. David is confident and settled in the calling God has on his life as the anointed King of Israel. He knows the one in whom he trusts and from whom the victory must come. He also knows that the battles aren't about him or Israel, but about the Lord and his soverignty. (Keep in mind that when Israel went into battle apart from the Lord's leading, they were routed!)

This psalm reminds us as twenty-first century readers that God is still sovereign over all nations and all lands. He is in his "heavenly sanctuary" still hearing our prayers and still as trustworthy to be faithful to his promises as he was with Israel and her King.

As you worship this week, whether this morning in a church building or later in the week when you're out and about, rejoice in the Lord that he has drawn you away from trusting in whatever your heart is tempted to trust for victory, to trusting in the name of the Lord your God. In fact, here's an idea for an exercise: You might not be a warrior going off to batte, but in your field and community what are you tempted to trust in other than the Lord? Often I am convinced if I can just put together the best routine and schedule, all will be well. My gods are my accomplishments and ability to be in control. I could rephrase that verse Some trust in calendars and some in atomic habits, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Sounds silly, but it's the truth. (And, of course, the baseline is me trusting in myself. Lord, have mercy!)

If you belong to Christ, (God's ultimate anointed one), you too have been chosen and called to be part of God's people. Contrary to public opinion, we are not warriors that need to take back anything for God; that wasn't Israel's task either. They were called to love and obey the Lord, becuase he loved them and rescued them from Egypt, and by being his they would be a light to the nations. We are as dependent as the troops of Israel on God's rescue and direction in our lives as individuals and the Church. And we are just as prone to idol worship as the people of Israel. (Check out I Cor 10:11-13.)

May the Lord use Psalm 20 to minister to us this day, brining conviction of sin and confidence in his love and care for his Church. The Lord gave victory to the King of kings, Jesus! He answers us when we call! Like David, we can rise up and stand firm in him, with humble rejoicing, confident prayers, and hopeful anticipation of his continued victory over sin and death, in our individual lives and in all creation.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  
Ephesians 6:12

Only the Lord can come out on top agains such foes! We surrender to him; he fights our enemies. He has secured the victory and is securing it. What a God!


February 12, 2023

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, my God,
    for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
    “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
    I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
    or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
    you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
    even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

This is a beautiful psalm of trust.  David speaks of God's attributes as a refuge and provider and names the many good things God has provided and will provide for him because he belongs to God.  I feel like it wouldn't hurt to memorize this one!

At the writing of this psalm, David needs (as many of the psalms have demonstrated through Psalm 16) protection from his enemies.  King Saul wants him dead.  But he knows that he is God's anointed, chosen to be the next king of Israel.  This psalm is an expression of trust in him and in praise of who God is and what he does and will do.  Knowing God has and will keep him safe, is his portion and his cup, and is always present with him not only gives David personal confidence and security; it impacts how he relates to others, to idols, even to death.  And the tone of the psalm is joy and praise.  David delights in God's people, forsakes all other gods, and proclaims that it is God who has set him up, continues to direct him, and will keep him from being shaken.

Because of all of the truth he knows about God, David also responds from within his very being, trusting the Lord with his death as much as his life.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure.

In fact, without knowing it (I assume) his subsequent words are picked up by the apostles in Acts as prophesy of how God did not let Jesus' body see decay but raised him from the dead!

David responds to knowledge of and relationship with God in his living and being.  On display for us here is a picture of the shalom that God established for the world at creation, and that all of creation presently longs to have restored.  Shalom is not a simple absence-of-war peace, but rather a flourishing and well-being to the core for all of creation and for each individual.  We find it only in God and surrender to his authority and care.  David says it this way:

I say to the LORD, "You are my LORD;
apart from you I have no good thing.

Friends, we walk with, know, and have been chosen, redeemed, adopted, and made righteous by the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David!  Shalom, though not yet in its fullness on earth, is ours in Christ!  To me, the only logical question in response to reading a psalm like this is

Will we join David in expressing trust in God today?

Will we let our hearts be glad in God, despite enemy assault; will we declare the praises of God who has called us out of darkness and into his wonderful light; will we walk in the paths of life he has shown us; will we praise him with our words and in relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith? 

Oh, let's!  We belong to God!

Turning our minds and hearts back to what is true, then saying it out loud, truly will make our hearts glad and loosen our tongues to rejoice.  It doesn't mean the hard will go away automatically or perhaps ever in this life, but we know our Creator-King God knows and is in it with us with the love and power each situation requires.

The boundary lines have fallen for [us] in pleasant places;
surely, [we] have a delightful inheritance.

My dear siblings in Christ, God is keeping us safe.  He is our refuge.  He is our portion.  He is our cup.  
We have a delightful inheritance.  God is faithful to his people in life and in death.  Let us join our brother, King David, and keep our eyes always on the Lord. 


February 4, 2023

Psalm 15

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.

Psalm 15 doesn't fit into any of the common psalm categories: hymn of praise, lament, or thanksgiving.  Though it's not listed as a "wisdom" psalm as such in the books I have for reference, for me it makes me think of Proverbs more than Psalms.  It is instruction in answer to two big questions.  I don't know if these questions are being asked in the same way now.  I think we ask them in this form: "Am I enough?"  We want to know that we are okay.

I'm not sure that this psalm offers much comfort.  Or does it?

First, some history:  In David's time, God dwelled in the holy of holies in the tabernacle that he gave explicit instructions to build.  Later, when David took the throne, he would centralize both the government and religious life of Israel in Jerusalem by bringing the ark of the covenant there to be settled.  His son would construct the more permanent temple.  The holy of holies was open only once a year for the high priest to enter and offer sacrifices for the people for atonement (Leviticus 16).  The high priest had to be cleansed and purified according to the word of the Lord before presenting sacrifice on behalf of the people.  It was serious business to come into the presence of the Lord.  David knew this.

In answer to his own questions, then, David goes on to describe the type of person who can live in God's sacred tent and holy mountain: a righteous one.  If you read Psalm 14, this is intriguing, because he blatantly says in Psalm 14, "there is no one who does good." (Paul picks this idea up in Romans 3, as well.)  Nevertheless, David, knowing the law, is able to pen these words about how the Lord has laid out instructions for the righteous life he desires.

I would summarize the verses by saying the one whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous is driven by a purity of heart and motive that come from submission to the greatest commandment and the second that is like it (Matthew 22:36-40).  They have an integration of faith and life that sets them on a solid foundation.  The specifics include controlled speech, relating to others kindly, opposition to evil, being a person of their word and integrity, just, generous, and honest.

An honest reflection will highlight that no human lives up to this ideal.  Like David said in Psalm 14, no one does good.  Well, all of us do some good, but none of us is one hundred percent consistent in our righteousness enough to be confident to "dwell in [God's] sacred tent."

Is there any comfort in this psalm, then?

Yes!  We can be encouraged in two ways: our reconciliation to God in Christ and God's promise to carry to completion what he starts.

Jesus lived the kind of life described here.  He came to do so, in fact, that he could be the sacrifice to open up the holy of holies to all people.  He was unshakable in his love for God and neighbor. But more than being an example or a martyr, he is the way, truth, and life.  This week in a separate Bible study for our Sunday School class, I was floored by the truth that I have been reconciled to God through Christ.  We were once alienated or enemies of God, but through faith in Jesus we are restored to God as sons and daughters.  Thus, we can love God and love our neighbor as he intended all along.

That hits on the second idea that God carries to completion what he begins.  In Christ, as new creations, we can set out on the paths of righteousness God has laid out for us, not in pride or fear, but in peace, contentment, and joy.  Secure as God's own children, knowing he has promised to transform us into Jesus' likeness, we can forsake our former idols and habits and boldly walk in faith as people of justice, righteousness, and integrity.  In that space, we are on solid ground.  ("Shaken" there at the end of the psalm can be translated "stand firm forever" or "moved.")

God's story is all about recreating the way to be with his people.  From the fall in Genesis 3, the reconciliation story unfolds according to God's timing and plan.  He knows none of us is righteous, yet he made a way that we can be, so we can be with him again in his presence as he was with Adam and Eve in the garden.  Nailing the righteous life is not the end goal, being with our God is.  In this present time, we can enjoy growing in righteousness through relationship with our Creator-King - planting our feet on the solid ground of his love and his word.  Thus we will become ministers of reconciliation in a world that desperately needs just that.

So back to our modern version of David's opening question: "Am I enough?"  I think the Bible tells us we're asking the wrong question. God simply invites us to believe that he is enough and to trust his way for us is best.  We have immense value and worth as God's image-bearers in creation.  By sending his son, Jesus, God showed us just how much he loves us and how much he wants to rescue us from the fear that we're not enough.  Further, he has given us his Spirit; the God who once dwelt only in the holy of holies takes up residence in our hearts.  Wow, doesn't that make you want to praise him?

May his blessings flow to you as you worship and rest this weekend.

January 29, 2023

Psalm 12

Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
    those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
    they flatter with their lips
    but harbor deception in their hearts.

May the Lord silence all flattering lips
    and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
    “By our tongues we will prevail;
    our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
    I will now arise,” says the Lord.
    “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the Lord are flawless,
    like silver purified in a crucible,
    like gold refined seven times.

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
    and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about
    when what is vile is honored by the human race.

Here we find another lament of David.  He looks around and says what I have often heard said these days, though the language is perhaps a bit different.  "Why is there so much evil?"  "Why doesn't anyone follow God anymore?"  "Things have never been this bad."

But David turns to the Lord and opens with "Help!"  Did you know that is one of the best prayers?  That one word communicates so much: surrender and faith.  It says, "Hey, Lord, I know you're the only hope in this situation."  It looks in the right direction for hope and assistance.  Don't ever feel ashamed or afraid to simply say to your loving heavenly Faith and Creator-King, "Help!"

In the pattern of a lament, after issuing his complaint/plea-for-help combo, David expresses confidence in God to shut down the proud and boastful.  Then there's the stanza where God speaks.  It is almost like, mid-prayer, David turns to God's word for language to express his confidence that God is going to answer his plea for help.  God will arise!  His word (promises) will be fulfilled!

David closes with a word of praise to God, the one who keeps the needy safe and protects the vulnerable from the wicked, even if it seems like at the moment they are prevailing.

A Psalm of Contrasts

As per the usual in wisdom literature, God's steadfast faithfulness and power to protect his people and triumph over evil are set in contrast to the pride and dishonesty of "the wicked" - those who refuse to acknowledge God.  Another comparison is presented between their words and God's.  The speech of these unfaithful and unloyal humans is at best unreliable, at worst harmful.  God's word, however, is as trustworthy and pure as can be.  Human tongues wag in confidence their plans will come to pass and nothing can stop them.  But the Lord arises, able to make his word come to pass.

It is worth the time to present a final contrast that may not be as obvious, but I find most personally convicting.  The last line of the Psalm reads, "when what is vile is honored by the human race."  To read that word in the context of this psalm, vile can be understood as lying, deceitfulness, boasting, pride, and plundering the vulnerable.  If I were asked, outside of reading this psalm, what I'd put in the vile category, none of these things would make my list.  I'd be thinking of gross, deviant behaviors that make the daily news and leave us thinking, "Thank goodness I'm not like that!"  But lying, deceit, pride, boasting, benefiting from the plunder of the poor?  Well, I can be like that!  In contrast, we find the faithful - loyal to God and fellow humans - who humbly turn to God, trust in his protection and power, and strive to help the poor and needy.

Good News!

Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, those who put their faith in him have a door opened to freedom from wickedness (dependence on self) and unto faithfulness (humble surrender to God).  God takes hard hearts, prone to lies, flattery, and deception, and gives hearts of flesh in return, hearts soft toward him and toward our neighbor.  The self-preservation-at-any-cost way of living is replaced by a hopeful, faithful, peaceful existence grounded in the love of our powerful and loving Creator-King who sees the poor and needy and is risen.

I am humbled by a psalm like this.  On my own, without the Lord's intervention in my life, I was in the group David talks about in verse one.  But he has intervened and given me faith and his Spirit.  I am no longer at the mercy of my pride and desires!  Nor are you if you have put your trust in Jesus.  Yes, temptation will come - we are not yet in the new earth - but sin's power over us is no more.  We belong to the Lord and are part of his family!

People will fail us.  We will disappoint ourselves.  But "the words of the Lord are flawless."  Indeed, what he says he will do.  Consider the contrasts in this psalm and, as you meditate on the gospel today, rejoice!  When you were poor and needy, the Lord came to your aid.  Jesus' work is complete and he will return.

When we are tempted to join in David's lament,"Lord, no one is faithful anymore! Evil is winning!" may the Spirit quickly come to our aid, reminding us of God's triumph over evil, his good and true promises, and his love and power at work in his Church (us!) and in the world.  Further, may the Lord guide us into his way for us today and in the coming days, showing us when and where we can be part of his "arising" to the aid of the poor and needy.


January 22, 2023

Psalm 8

Photo by <a href="">Khamkéo Vilaysing</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

David praises Jehovah (LORD), whose name is majestic in the earth because he created it all, including the heavens.  Further, David is in awe of how his Lord ordered creation such that humankind would be positioned its stewards.  Psalm 8 is a psalm of praise.  Indeed this one sounds more like what we sing on a Sunday morning than the lament in Psalm 6 that we looked at last week!

As I read this I thought that perhaps David wrote this at night.  He doesn't mention the sun, only the moon and stars.  I imagine, in an era without the light pollution we enjoy today, him standing out in a field and beholding the expanse above him.  (Note in the psalm that "heavens" is a reference to the sky, not heaven as a place where God dwells.)  What does he see?  Probably something like the photo above.  So.  Many.  Stars.  The experience, even without all the knowledge we presently have about how immense the universe is, makes him wonder at how small he is.  He says, "You have set your glory in the heavens."  Glory refers here to splendor, the grandeur of an imposing form or appearance.  Jehovah's glory is displayed in creation, especially that vastness of the sky!  David recognizes his comparable smallness and worships his Jehovah's majestic name.

Then he moves on to consider that, despite his physical insignificance in comparison to the heavens, Jehovah created all things with an order, within which human beings were the crowning achievement of creation, placed on earth to tend to all Jehovah created.  What a calling!  God is so big, His creation so glorious, and still, God is "mindful" of his image-bearers and "made them rulers over the works of [his] hands."

The hierarchy is clear.  The Creator is on top.  We live and rule in dependence on and in submission to Jehovah.  Yet David communicates in his praise that it is not a hierarchy of fear, but of love.  In the poetic style of the ancient Hebrews, couplets that emphasize an image or idea, we see the mindfulness of God described as care for human beings.

You know, I have no idea how creation happened at the scientific level.  People seem to like to argue about that.  With this psalm, however, let's leave all those details aside and imagine ourselves standing with David out in the dark on a plain or at the top of a mountain beholding the clear night sky in all of its glory.  We are tempted to stop there, simply amazed at what was created.  Then the Spirit reminds us not to stop there with our adoration, but to turn our thoughts to the one who is greater than creation, Jehovah the Creator.

We hold our breath a moment when we remember he calls us his own beloved children through his Son Jesus.  The one who made and placed every blessed star in the heavens knows our names, set us on his earth to steward everything he created, and knit us together to reflect his image in the world.

As we exhale we join David and whisper or shout,

"Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"