|O where is a blue butterfly when you want one!|
I hate to have it leave, this month of round yellow light that settles lazily over my body, of blue butterflies lingering on lantana and birds calling each other for October journeys.
September. Its departure is as decked out in splendor as was its arrival here in South Carolina. I pause to soak in the beauty, but the paucity of words to burst through the glory and touch the Creator frustrates me. I identify with that “agony of prayerlessness,” that Dietrich Bonhoeffer says drove the disciples to ask Jesus to teach them to pray.
In his little book, Psalms: the Prayer Book of the Bible, Bonhoeffer makes his case for praying God’s words back to him because, “The words which come from God become . . . the steps on which we find our way to God.” And: “The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not the poverty of our heart.”
And so I let the laundry wait. Dinner will emerge in some form or other, and life will carry on into the October morning. But today, this last glorious day of September, I offer the words of what Bonhoeffer classifies as the creation psalms back to the One who first spoke them.
Care to join me in a meditation of Psalms 8, 19? (Bonhoeffer also includes Psalms 29, and 104, which you might consider on your own.)
O LORD, our Lord, / how majestic is your name in all the earth! O Jehovah Lord, I acknowledge you as Creator God. I praise your name and proclaim your glory. Glory that is above the heavens, uncontainable, unfathomable. (v.1, 2)
How can it be that when I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, /the moon and the stars, which you/have set in place, that you are mindful of me and that you care for me! (v.3,4) I bow down and thank you. I thank you that you have made a way for me know you and that you have crowned me with glory and honor. (v. 3)
O LORD, our Lord, / how majestic is your name in all the earth! (v.9)
Hallowed be your name.
1980. I am flying in to NYC, a new Christian about to embark on a new journey. The sunrise explodes above the clouds and I turn in my spanking new Bible to Psalm 19. Your profound declaration of how you have revealed yourself through your creation fills me with awe, and your spoken Word of revelation leaves me no excuse.
The heavens declare the glory of God, / And the sky above proclaims his handiwork. / Day to day pours forth speech/ And night to night reveals knowledge. (v.1, 2) O Father, try as we will to make sense of all the mysteries that surround us, try as we will to inform and contain, there is no way to explain the undeniable grandeur that is revealed both night and day. –even the stars “sing” (as scientists have seen). I praise you for the mystery, the beauty, the grandeur of your creation.
What a great image you have given us to delight in . . . The sun,/ which comes out like a bridegroom/ leaving his chamber/ and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. (v.5)
And in case we miss it—the face of you in this creation—you have left us your Law which is perfect and revives our souls (v.7), your sure testimony which makes the simple wise, your right precepts which rejoice the heart, and your pure commandments which enlighten the eyes . . .(v.7,8)
O God, may I not exchange your glory for my man-made idols. (Romans 1:23) May I not chase after emptiness and become empty. (Jer.2:5)
But let the words of my mouth and the /meditation of my heart/be acceptable in your sight, /O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (v. 14)
Blessings friends, as we leave September behind and face fall-ward,