Wide, High, Long and Deep

Scripture Focus: Psalm 36:5-9
5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.

Reflection: Wide, Long, High and Deep
By Jon Polk

The Psalter is replete with references to the “two ways” of living, contrasting the wicked and the righteous, good versus evil. Chapter one, verse one starts it all off, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked.”

Indeed, this theme cuts a well-worn path throughout the Psalms and finds beautiful poetic expression here in Psalm 36.

Our psalmist opens with a customary lament about the presence and arrogance of evil in our world. Blinded by their own high opinions of themselves, the wicked act foolishly, plot evil, and pursue a sinful course of wrongdoing. All without regard to the presence and authority of God in the world.

But never fear, gentle reader! The virtues of God reign supreme! God’s unfailing love is as limitless as the skies, God’s righteousness is solid like the mountains high, and God’s justice plumbs the depths of the oceans. God’s love is indeed woven into the fabric of our world, preserving all of creation.

Why is there so much papyri in these ancient Psalms dedicated to the eternal struggle between the righteous and the wicked? 

Could it be that we are constantly reminded of the present reality of evil, the influence of the Accuser, or the bold arrogance of the self-righteous? Could it be that even in Christ, we are not promised a carefree existence, safe from struggle or difficulty? Could it be that we are weary and long to feast in God’s house, drink from God’s fountain of life, and witness God’s justice roll down like a river?

Could it be also that were it not for that same love, faithfulness, and righteousness of God, we ourselves would be counted among the number of the wicked?

The psalmist paints a portrait for us of the radical, joyous, and inclusive love of God, a love that welcomes all to find refuge in God’s wings. As Paul reminds the church in Ephesus, we were all once far away from God, without hope, but through Christ we have been brought near to God. We can truly celebrate with humble thanksgiving the God who sustains us and continues to love us.

So, if your world is unstable, your prospects bleak, or if you need a little more strength to get by, take heart and be reminded today of “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:18).

Music: “The Love of God” by Rich Mullins

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who trust in him! — Psalm 34.8

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Kings 16 (Listen 5:31)
Psalms 36 (Listen 1:29)

This Weekend’s Readings
1 Kings 17 (Listen 3:14)Psalms 37 (Listen 4:21)
1 Kings 18 (Listen 7:08)Psalms 38 (Listen 2:14)

Read more about Make God’s Love Evident
There is great wickedness in the world. Yet, in such a world, the psalmist proclaims God’s love.

Read more about Becoming Light
We can have hope because God has love for us as his motivation. The core of who God is, is love.

Names of Jesus—Justice, Doctor, and Bread :: Throwback Thursday

Psalm 36.7-9
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
   People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
   you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
   in your light we see light.

From John:
During Holy Week we looked at a section of this work by Nicetus of Remesiana. We will read the middle part of it today, and the rest on our next Throwback Thursday reading.

Reflection: Names of Jesus—Justice, Bread, and Doctor :: Throwback Thursday
By Nicetas of Remesiana (335-414)

He is called justice because through faith in his name sinners are made just; and redemption, because he paid the price in his blood to buy us back— we who had been so long lost.

He is called bread, because by his gospel he fed the hunger of our ignorance; and a stone, both because on him the serpent left no trace and because he afforded us protection.

He is the doctor who came to visit us and cured our weakness and our wounds; the fount of living water, because by the “bath of regeneration” he cleanses sinners and gives them life. He is peace, because he brought together those who lived apart, and reconciled us to God the Father. He is the Resurrection, because he will raise all bodies from their graves; and the judge because it is he who will judge both the living and the dead. He is the door, because it is by him that those who believe enter the kingdom of heaven.

These many names and titles belong to one Lord. Take courage, therefore, O man of faith, and plant your hope firmly in him. If you would learn of the Father, listen to this Word. If you would be wise, ask him who is Wisdom.

When it is too dark for you to see, seek Christ, for He is the Light. Are you sick? Have recourse to him who is both doctor and health. Would you know by whom the would was made and all things are sustained? Believe in him, for he is the arm and right hand. Are you afraid of this or that? Remember that on all occasions he will stand by your side like an angel.

If you find it hard to meet face to face the high majesty of the Only-begotten, do not lose hope. Remember, he was made man to make it easy for men to approach him. If you are innocent, like a lamb he will join your company. If you are saddened by pagan persecution, take courage. Remember that he himself went like a lamb to the slaughter, and, priest that he is, he will offer you up as a victim to the Father. If you do not know the way of salvation, look for Christ, for he is the road for souls. If it is truth that you want, listen to him, for he is the Truth. Have no fear whatever of death, for Christ is the Life of those who believe.

Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Know this: The Lord himself is God; he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. — Psalm 100.2

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 2 (Listen – 3:47) 
Psalm 36 (Listen – 1:29)

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Read more about Names of Jesus—Priest, Lamb, and Vine :: Throwback Thursday
In the Holy Scriptures there are many names and titles which are applied to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

Read more about Remember Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.