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Showing posts from July, 2019

Starting and ending this way

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Psalm 113 Mary Oliver wrote, in her poem, "Mindful": Every day, I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leave me like a needle in the haystack of light. It is what I was born for - to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world - to instruct myself over and over in joy, and acclamation, Nor am I talking about the exceptional, the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant - but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab, the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help but grow wise with such teachings as these - the untrimmable light of the world, the ocean's shine, the prayers that are made out of grass? Like the Psalmists of old, some of us cultivate a life of praise.  We notice, and we say it outloud. In our Summer of Psalms series , our text today is another of our Psalms of orientation – those prayers that start us out on the foundation of God’s goodness and reliability, and

A life well-lived

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Psalm 1 On the 4 th  of July, for over 30 years, NPR broadcasts a reading of the Declaration of Independence.  Arguably the most famous line in the document is the first line of the preamble: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."   America is unabashed about the pursuit of happiness.  It’s written right into the foundation of things, and we have not held back from that pursuit.  It’s a high value in our culture.  Ask a parent what they want for their kids and most will say we only want our kids to be happy –  only , like that’s a basic prerequisite and everything else is harder, or bonus.    It hasn’t always been this way – for most of human history, happiness wasn’t something people went after – it would never occur to them that happiness was something you could pursue. You just live