Yr A ~ Creation 3 ~ Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Give thanks, call on God, make known God’s presence, sing to God, sing praises to God, say what God has done in your life, exult in God’s name, rejoice, seek God’s presence, seek God’s strength, seek God’s presence continually, and remember – remember all God has granted, remember how the Spirit has surprised and delighted and moved you, and remember how following God’s way of love, love, love has guided your life on a better path.
That’s a paraphrase of how Psalm 105 begins. And it ends in a similar way.
Praise God. Literally, the last words in this psalm are “praise the Lord,” which in Hebrew is Hallelujah! Praise God! Hallelujah!
Why? Why all this praising?
Because of all that God has done.
Ok, but what if you don’t think that God has done very much?
Well, I guess that all depends on how you look at things.
People of faith tend to look at things through the lens of God’s omni-presence. And while it may be hard to discern how God might be moving or what God might be doing in a given moment, people of faith can look back on their history and discern that God was indeed there – present – acting – somehow.
For the Jews the history they always look back on was what we now call the Exodus – their release from the captivity of Pharaoh in Egypt and their following of Moses into the wilderness and ultimately into the Promised Land. It’s the story of how they became a people. And they are convinced that God was at the centre of the story – guiding and acting and bringing it to be.
I can think of another exodus story that I think you will find even more pertinent! It’s a story about how a group of faithful people ‘escaped from’ a situation in which struggling and floundering were dominant. They spent their fair share of time in the wilderness – in that in-between time of knowing that leaving ‘what was’ behind was the right thing, but not really knowing what’s next yet. And then there was their deliverance to the Promised Land – a land not without challenge, but filled with the promise of the potential of flourishing.
Does that sound familiar? It should – because that’s the exodus story of Faith United.
Once there was a time when two (and later a third) church were struggling and perhaps even floundering, who ‘escaped’ and wandered in the wilderness for a while.
For some (St. Andrew’s and Courtice folks) it was a season of church in a school because church buildings had been let go of and sold.
For others (Harmony folks) it was a season of looking for a compatible group to join with.
Either way it was a time of risk, and leaving behind, and an unknown future. It was a time in the wilderness.
And then, ultimately, there was this place – Faith United – the Promised Land! A land of milk and honey and wondrous blessings!
Exaggeration? No, not really.
This is the language people of faith use. After a time in the wilderness arriving in a place like this feels like the Promised Land! And all along the journey I will bet that those of you who were there felt like God was with you – providing!
When you didn’t have a place to go and this property became available, didn’t it feel like a blessing?
When the original plans for an additional church hall didn’t work out and we ended up with this single multi-purpose space didn’t this turn out to be a great blessing?
When just the right people with just the right skills emerged at just the right time to make things happen wasn’t that an example of God providing?
This is our exodus story. And we need to keep telling it over and over again to remember how we got here and to remember how blessed we are to be here, in this place, together.
The ancient Israelites felt the same way, and still today, thousands of years later, they still tell their story for the same reasons. And their story is epic. read on