Archive for August, 2006

When We See Christ

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

Please read Psalm 27 (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What stands out? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (David Squire):

When I read this Psalm recently, verse 13 jumped off the page at me:

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

It brought to mind a hymn from my (Baptist) childhood, When We See Christ. Here’s a sample of the lyrics:

Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

What a contrast between the psalm and this “sacred” song! The hymn dwells on the troubles of life, and concludes that it will only get better after we’re dead. There’s some truth to that. Life is hard — full of trials, complaining, despair — and it will surely be better when we’re immediately present with God. But it often seemed, from what I learned in the churches and Sunday Schools of my past, that the only purpose of this life was to get you to the next one. So there was great emphasis on being “saved”, after which we grit our teeth and wait “until we see Christ”.

But that’s not all there is! We have God right here with us, and the psalmist knew this. He knew that we can see “the goodness of the Lord” before this life ends. Jesus instructed us to pray that God’s kingdom would be established here and now:

Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus also said he came to give us “abundant life” — but he didn’t say it would come only in eternity.

So I guess the song is half correct. Life’s trials will seem small when we see Christ — but we don’t have to wait for our life on earth to end for that to happen. We can “see Christ” right here, right now.

Thought for the day: It’s fine to long for heaven — but don’t give up the opportunities you have to bring heaven to earth.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: those we know and love who are struggling with transitions — a break-up, divorce, job changes, moving, or any of the other “eruptions” of life. May God grant peace, wisdom, and growth.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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