Text: Psalm 40
This summer, we’ve been talking about spiritual practices. Prayer has popped up again and again, so I think it’s cool that we’re using the collections of Psalms as the words of our worship today. The Psalms are both the songbook of the Bible and the prayer book of our lives.
One of the prayer practices we’ve talked about is: help, thanks, wow. That’s actually also a good way to think about the different types of Psalms in the Bible. The people who wrote the psalms had some BIG feelings. Some psalm writers ask God for help or getting their anger or sadness out; some are giving thanks and others are amazed at how God has created us and the world. And some are all of those things at once!
And talk about the Psalms being the song book of the Bible - the first few verses of Psalm 40 alone have given rise to many songs. When I was talking with my mom about her coming to visit this weekend, I read her a bit of Psalm 40 for today. She immediately asked if I knew a song. I didn’t know that song, but I had another song immediately on my lips: Jesus, Lover of my soul.
Jesus, I will never let you go. You’ve taken me from the miry clay; set my feet upon a rock and now I know. I love you, I need you, though my world may fall, you’ll never let me go.
My Savior, my closest friend, I will worship you until the very end.
We’ve been singing a lot at our Vacation Bible School this past week (VBS). Our focus story was the Parable of the Sower - Jesus sharing that the kingdom of God is like a sower going out to sow - Seed/the word of God is scattered on the path, in rocky soil, amongst thorns & in good soil. God's word takes root in our lives in different ways, sometimes at different times in our lives.
We talked about faith practices there, too. We talked about prayer, and reading the Bible, and singing Christian songs, and going to church and to VBS and caring for God’s creation. All of these things help grow our trust in Jesus and our love of Jesus so that when challenges come our way (thorns), we know EVEN MORE, that Jesus is with us, no matter what. We are in faith training, kind of like the athletes at the Olympics are in training for their sports.
On the second day of VBS, we talked about God’s love taking root in our lives. One of the activities we did that day was drawing our Roots of Faith (show examples - Amelia and mine). Rather than a family tree of who our ancestors are, we dug down into the good soil, going to the roots and the nutrients in good soil - naming who has nourished our faith, fed us, helped us grow in our relationship with God, our love of Jesus. We each have been fed by others who know this love of Christ. Who are those people for you?
We all have people who have been praying for us - for our whole lives! I have a book that I want to read that is just about that - When I pray for you by Matthew Paul Turner. All these people who help us know Jesus loves us? - this book helps us learn how they've been praying for us.
That book gives me Holy Spirit shivers. My mom and aunt are here today - two people in my roots of faith - so it feels pretty special to me to read this book with them here today. As I look around today, I know that many of you have family and friends here - you may be the one who has prayed for the kids running around, or, you might have people around who have been praying for you from the day they met you. Yes, it was a momma who started the praying in our book - but they are prayers we say for each other - even when we keep on growing.
Prayer - Lord, we thank you for the people and things in our Roots of Faith - who help us know and love Jesus. Stir up our imaginations to see the potential you see in our lives and the lives of those gathered here today; we pray that all that You see comes alive inside us and we know and share the love of Jesus with the gifts of our heads, hands and hearts. Amen.
Rev. Elizabeth Bier is the pastor of ONE in Christ Parish, a three-point parish in Greenwood, Longwood, and Withee. She is ordained with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and has served the ONE in Christ Parish since February of 2019.Profile
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