August 27, 2014

Psalm 138

1 I give Thee thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
  before the gods I sing Thy praise;
2 I bow down toward Thy holy temple
  and give thanks to Thy name for Thy steadfast love and Thy faithfulness;
for Thou hast exalted above everything
  Thy name and thy word.
3 On the day I called, Thou didst answer me,
  my strength of soul thou didst increase.
4 All the kings of the earth shall praise Thee, O Lord,
  for they have heard the words of Thy mouth;
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
  for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, He regards the lowly;
  but the haughty He knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
  Thou dost preserve my life;
Thou dost stretch out Thy hand against the wrath of my enemies,
  and Thy right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfil His purpose for me;
  Thy steadfast love, O Lord, endures for ever.
  Do not forsake the work of Thy hands.

Three assertions stand out in this beautiful prayer in times of trouble.

  1. On the day I called, Thou didst answer me,
    my strength of soul Thou didst increase
    (verse 3).
Prostration
“I bow down toward Thy holy temple and give thanks to Thy name”

The Lord hears us when we call on Him, but His answer may most often be to increase our “strength of soul,” not to remove the trouble (which usually does not depend on Him alone anyway). Our soul (psyche) is here understood as the deepest and most precious part of our existence, our real self.  Our aim is to guard, stretch and strengthen our soul, and times of threat against our soul may be precisely what is needed to do that. As Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26 NKJV)

  1. For though the Lord is high, He regards the lowly;
    but the haughty He knows from afar
    (verse 6).

The creator of heaven and earth, of all that is visible and invisible, of all that we know and all that remains unknown, this same Lord at the same time “regards the lowly.” He sees, knows and cares for each one of us human beings, and especially those in greatest distress and need. The proud and haughty are self-sufficient and have little need for God. We are all like that to one degree or another, and at such times our hardened shells make it impossible for God’s love to enter in. 

  1. The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me;
    Thy steadfast love, O Lord, endures for ever.
    Do not forsake the work of Thy hands
    (verse 8).

This most high God not only knows each of us, He has a purpose for us that we may or may not understand right now. But trusting in His steadfast love which endures forever, we love, serve and worship Him knowing that one day everything will be seen and known in the never-ending light of His kingdom.   

Update

Andrew Boyd
Metropolitan Tikhon meets with Andrew Boyd
car blessing
Blessing of new car
reliquaries
Blessing of new reliquaries

Andrew Boyd, head of the OCA’s Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries (Visit their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/OCA-Department-of-Youth-Young-Adult-and-Campus-Ministries/156890677696108), met last Friday afternoon with Metropolitan Tikhon and me to bring us up to date on youth activities and plans, especially for the approaching All-American Council. Take a look at the department’s revamped blog for some excellent thought-provoking articles (http://wonder.oca.org).

The past weekend at Saint Sergius Chapel included a blessing for a family’s car and blessing of the new reliquaries for relics of Saint Alexander Nevsky and Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco.

Today Matushka Tamara Skvir will be at the Chancery (with Father Daniel Skvir) to complete an inventory of the OCA’s archives holdings with Archivist Alexis Liberovsky. This is part of a much larger long-term project for preserving and housing the archives.