This post is adapted from a sermon preached by someone else (Gerry Adlard) on Sunday July 21st at St Peter’s Church, Mowbray, Cape Town. This focuses on the seventh of the Psalms of Ascents, Psalm 126. It’s best to read that first, and have it open next to you as you read the rest of the post.
For links to the previous posts in this series, scroll to the end of this post.
God’s people came and went and came back. Quite a few times. The story of the people of God as read in the pages of the Bible is one of consistent inconsistency. Obedience, disobedience. Exodus, exile, promised land, foreign occupier. You can depend on God’s people to be undependable.
Yet if there’s one thing we’ve seen as we approach half-way on this journey, it’s that God is consistent and dependable. In the way hills are immovable, God will not shift from His people. He is for them and He wants them. He wants to work in them and through them.
We read that in the pages of the Bible. Psalm 126 alludes to that. The wax and wane of obedience and good fortune, of oppression and freedom. But through it all the sense that God’s been at work, that He’s done good things. Great things, even. In spite of the reality of tears, God’s people can still laugh and sing. This psalm tells us that celebration does not cancel out lament; it harmonises on it.
That’s all very well. Wonderful as the return of exiles to the country is, it doesn’t mean much to me. Theologically maybe. Theoretically, yes. In practice, not so much. I have my stories to tell. Long after I’ve gone they will be my psalms, songs, hymns, stores – in the form of journals, notes, sermons, conversations, blog posts and whatever else I choose to use to capture my life in the years to come. They are the psalms I will leave.
What about you?
How will your story be told? Not for your sake, but the for those who follow. So they can see He did great things not just in the pages of Scripture but in the early years of the 21st century too. Not just the stuff of nations, but that of healing, of bill paid, words received, prayers answered.
I think of the bank account which repeatedly re-filled for a time, inexplicably.
I think of the prophetic word from a stranger so direct and on the money it reduced me to the happy tears of the deeply known and loved in spite of what hundreds believed of me.
I think of the miraculous, instantaneous healing of my wife from M.E.
I think of His closeness in many dark, painful times; so close my body vibrates.
I think of an abused man I knew experiencing into a measure of healing.
I think of the over-night changed mind by the local benefit office which meant someone wasn’t made homeless.
I think of the knife thrown at me at a range of feet, missing by several.
I think of my wedding day.
I think of the constant reminders, the insistence that He knows me better than anyone, and He’s much less bothered about that than they are.
I think of so much.
My stories, my psalms, my hymns, my spiritual songs.
This post is adapted from the notes of a sermon preached by Gery Adlard at St Peter’s, Mowbray, Cape Town on Sunday 21st July 2013. It’s not an exact text of the sermon as I didn’t preach it.
Also in this series: