Seeker: “Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.” I don’t know about these verses from the psalmist, Preacher. It has been awfully “slippery” lately.
Preacher: Seeker, the Lord of the Ages has been with humanity from the first moment of creation when we were called into existence. That we failed that first test is because with all the other attributes that the Divine has bestowed upon us, we also have woven within our being free will.
Seeker: Now wait just a moment, Preacher, the snake in the garden had a lot to do with that also!
Preacher: The Divine gave Adam and Ever free will, Seeker. The instruction would not have been necessary if Adam and Eve had not had the choice as to what they would do.
Seeker: I suppose you are correct, Preacher. As the psalmist said, “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.”
Preacher: Yes, thank you Lord God for watching over us in these past days. The days have been hard, and we have been tested – sometimes beyond what we can endure. If we have succeeded at all in these past few days, it is only because Your Grace and Mercy has been upon us.
Seeker: Now wait just a minute, Preacher. Adam and Eve did not have “grace and mercy” in the garden. They were kicked out! From then until now it has been pretty tough going. As the psalmist said, “You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs; you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; . . . “ Seems to be we are still going through the “fire and water”!
Preacher: He also said, “. . . yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.”
Seeker: A “spacious place! That is an interesting twist on the term for social distancing! People have been dying lately; I hate to ask the question but it is probably at the back of everyone’s mind – just where is the Divine in all this?!
Preacher: Right where the Divine has always been, listening to us and caring for us. The psalmist said, “I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows, those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.”
Seeker: It is hard, Preacher. That is all I am saying; it is hard to hold on to faith when all around you is falling apart. The psalmist said, “I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah” Sometimes though, it does not feel like my prayers are going far, and it is the fear in my soul that threatens to turn my spirit into ashes and soot. And I do not think that is what the psalmist meant.
Preacher: Seeker, the psalmist says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.” Truly, in the midst of these days, the Holy Presence is among us. The same Holy Presence that was sent to the disciples in their troubles and trials. Take courage my friend, and trust in the Divine. Let the words of the psalmist speak what is in your heart, soul and spirit.
Seeker: “I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.”
Preacher: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”
Seeker: “But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.”
Preacher & Seeker: “Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.” (Psalm 66:8-20)