Thanksgiving

Psalm 63:5-9 (NRSV)

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
    and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

By John Grimm

We are ready!  We have our minds set on turkey and fixings.  We are looking forward to the pie—whether it be pumpkin, pecan, apple, or mincemeat!  We are glad it is time to feast. 

Why are we ready to feast?  God has been providing for us!  We are satisfied by God in our waking—whatever time we are awake.  For when we awaken in the middle of the night and can not get back to sleep, it is prime time to concentrate on the Lord.  This time is when we have a rich feast, and our mouths are full of praise.

I believe the hymn title is: “Count Your Blessings.”  God shelters us, and that’s a blessing we can count multiple times!  We cling to God by noticing how much the Lord does for us.  There is nothing like knowing God’s right hand upholds us!

Lord God, thank you satisfying our souls.  Lying in bed, thinking of you and your work in our lives brings joy to us.  As we know you, may our friends and family notice our contentment in you.  May we have more reasons to be thankful as friends and family find satisfaction in you.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray for joy for our friends and family this Thanksgiving.  Amen.

Bedtime Meditation

By Chuck Griffin
LifeTalk Editor

Psalm 63:6-8
I lie awake thinking of you,
    meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

Let’s continue with our meditation on Psalm 63, along the lines of what we did yesterday.

Where do we find our minds going as we drift toward sleep, or even as we sleep? There has been a lot of talk about difficulty sleeping and about “Covid-19 dreams,” those nighttime expressions of our heightened anxiety.

I’ve had my struggles at night. In the midst of the pandemic, I moved from one church appointment to another. As you might expect, I couldn’t say goodbye to the former church people the way I wanted, and I have not been able to say hello to the new church people the way I want.

I’ve had this recurring dream where I’m in the sanctuary at my new appointment. As I walk into the narthex, I see a set of stairs that don’t exist in real life, and I go up them. Upstairs, I find I’m in the sanctuary of my former church.

You don’t have to be a psychologist to figure that one out. It’s not a scary dream, just startlingly vivid, but clearly I’m lacking a sense of complete transition.

That dream is nothing compared with what a lot of you are experiencing. Maybe you have illness in your immediate family, or perhaps your ability to make a living has been impaired. The situation is enough to keep you awake at night.

Try this—I will try it too. Read just a little Scripture before falling asleep. Read something positive, like one of the resurrection stories in the gospels, or something else that gives you joy.

As you fall asleep, think about the goodness of God. Think of the great gift of salvation we have been given.

God is our helper. God does give us joy. And God will carry us through the night.

Lord, as we sleep, may we encounter you and grow in our understanding of your love. Amen.

Wilderness Meditation

By Chuck Griffin
LifeTalk Editor

Psalm 63:1-5 (NLT)

A psalm of David, regarding a time
when David was in the wilderness of Judah.

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
    and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
    lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
    I will praise you with songs of joy.

There are different kinds of wilderness, but they all have a few things in common.

While starkly beautiful, they can be unnerving, being so different from our daily experience. They even can be life-threatening if we don’t know how to navigate them. 

Some of us might feel we’re in a metaphorical wilderness right now. With a pandemic and a shift in political climate both underway, life can seem unpredictable and maybe even a little scary.

Here’s a positive thought, though. The heightened awareness the wilderness demands can bring us in touch with God.

Let’s take time to look at the first part of Psalm 63 today. I’ll raise the questions, and you consider your particular answers.

Do you still actively search for God?

Are you emotionally engaged in that search? Is the search more than theoretical—are you praying a need will be filled?

Can you say you’ve recently worshiped in a way where you have sensed God’s power and glory?

If you’ve not said “yes” so far, you may have identified why you sometimes feel as spiritually dry as a Levantine desert.

You also may have the beginnings of a strategy to move toward praise and deep satisfaction, regardless of your environment.

Lord, grow us in our awareness of your presence and our appreciation of your power and overwhelming love. Amen.