Psalm 148

The angels have every reason to boast:
in their mission beyond time and form,
in their gift of eternal song.
But see: they brag on God alone.

The sun has every reason to puff its chest:
all eyes turn toward it with every day,
its dawn is the hope of every heart.
But no: it praises the Creator.

The mountains and hills know their swagger:
they are parabolic obstacles and havens,
mysteries and revelations of folklore.
But note: they glorify God’s name.

The fire and hail, snow and wind know their fame:
as life measures its seasons by their impact,
as they toy with comfort and fear.
But listen: their tribute is made to the Sovereign.

So our egos aggrandize themselves in vain:
we who wilt under the sun and rain,
who stumble and wander in need of guides.
Take heed: exaltation belongs to God.


At night, the shadows are the stillness
and I am panicked as I pray:
Lord, be with me.

In the day, the shadows are the desolation
and I am resigned as I pray:
Lord, be with me.

In the news, the shadows are the flood of despair
and I am broken apart by pain as I pray:
Lord, be with me.

Among enemies, the shadows are the betrayal
and I am tired & angry as I pray:
Lord, be with me.

Even though I walk through shadows
along unfamiliar terrain,
I fear no predator
for you stay with me.
(Psalm 23:4)

Hannah’s Song

Though my soul is dry,
the stream is swollen with rain
because God’s goodness has not failed.

Though the bread crumbs are stale,
the doe and her fawn graze without worry
because God’s goodness has not failed.

Though death looms with certainty,
the sun sings a new song every morning
because God’s goodness has not failed.

Though soldiers sharpen their weapons for war,
the sidewalk yields to a stubborn dandelion
because God’s goodness has not failed.

Though arrogance shouts from its mountain,
the hummingbird continues to savor earth’s nectar
because God’s goodness has not failed.

on 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Psalm 130

I long for You, O Steadfast Love,
like the morning glory longs for dawn;
and yet if You turned Your gaze my way
how could I stand in Your sight?

I long for You, O Foolish Hope,
like the desert longs for the rain;
and yet if You flooded over me
how could I keep my footing?

I long for You, O Whispered Word,
like a parched tongue longs for a fountain;
and yet if You poured out in holy speech
how could I have courage to hear?


If I am zealous in faith
but do know not peace,
I am a dangerous firebrand.

If I kneel before the LORD
but cannot stand beside my neighbor,
I am a self-righteous Judas.

If I preach “Christ is near”
but shame those who cry to Jesus,
I am a false and jealous prophet.

If I shout out God’s praises
but refuse to resist injustice,
I am a faithless narcissist.

If I build glorious altars
but do not tear down dividing walls,
I am a godforsaken disciple.

Faith is not a solo experience or a self-serving endeavor. Faith cannot love God and hate a stranger. Faith is not simple or perfect or grandiose. Faith holds mystery, knows pain, and practices curiosity. Faith worships and welcomes, waits and works. Faith dwells in love, walks in peace, and joins in hope.

Reflecting on the lectionary texts for
the 10th Sunday after Pentecost (A),
patterned after 1 Corinthians 13