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Daily Encouragement - September 18

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,

    make known his deeds among the peoples.

Sing to him, sing praises to him;

    tell of all his wonderful works.

Glory in his holy name;

    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Seek the Lord and his strength;

    seek his presence continually.

Remember the wonderful works he has done,

    his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,

O offspring of his servant Abraham,

    children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

He is the Lord our God;

    his judgments are in all the earth.

He is mindful of his covenant forever,

    of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

the covenant that he made with Abraham,

    his sworn promise to Isaac,

which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,

    to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan

    as your portion for an inheritance.”

— Psalm 105:1-11

By now most of you have figured out that I have a great deal of admiration for Dietrich Bonhoeffer. We Protestants shy away from naming persons as uniquely “saintly,” believing all of us are called to live our faith fully, and yet, some heroes are special. Bonhoeffer saw earlier than most the danger that was Adolf Hitler, and at great cost stood up an opposition to him in the Confessing Church. He died for his witness and left for us wisdom that calls us forward.

In a singular line of the genius that could fill volumes, he once wrote, “life was meant to be lived from the center, not at the center.” A word worthy of being emblazoned across the sky. How quickly we forget. How quickly we move ourselves to the center of the universe and wonder why is everything spinning out-of-balance? Praise is the crucial movement that takes us away from the center of our lives and moves God to the center. We praise God, not to appease some tyrant of the universe, but rather, we praise God because in that act our lives make sense. We praise God to put life in balance. Praise is about the correct ordering of life: God is the center of life, not me. 

Marva Dawn says that in worship God is to be the subject and the object of all that we do. What she means by that is we need to be aiming ourselves toward God -- God needs to be the object of our worship, but at the same time, God needs to be what we are talking about, that is God needs to be our subject matter in worship. Praise means aiming ourselves at God, focusing ourselves on who God is and not on who we are. When we are ground in praise, we can live from that center and life begins to spin rightly.

Word of God Speak — Mercy Me

I'm finding myself at a loss for words

And the funny thing is it's okay

The last thing I need is to be heard

But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak

Would you pour down like rain

Washing my eyes to see

Your majesty

To be still and know

That you're in this place

Please let me stay and rest

In your holiness

Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You

Beyond the music, beyond the noise

All that I need is to be with You

And in the quiet hear Your voice

I'm finding myself at a loss for words

And the funny thing is it's okay

God of silence, God of wonder, we come to you today unsure of so much in life, but certain that you are God and nothing else will hold us secure. Grant that we may hear your still small voice amid all the noise of the age and walk in your ways. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Pastor Tom Greener

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