again AND again
Just as the faithful sun rises each morning, the LORD GOD’s mercies are new. Our star, is indifferent, it shines on us in our despair or our joy dutifully doing its work warming the world, but the King of heaven, His knowledge of us is unlike anything in heaven and
There is a pattern in the bible. We are friends with God, He loves us and blesses us, we turn away, and do things our own way, and we suffer. Again and again, he pursues us. Again and again, He makes a way back for us. Again and again, He forgives us and draws us to himself. This “again and again” we first recognized in Genesis, but it can be found woven through the fabric of the scriptures. It also is a pattern that is echoed through our world.
At the end of 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the General re-makes an intricate goldfish that he made before the war. Fabricated from gold, he labors over the details, and when he finishes, he then melts it down and starts all over again.
These parallels; one of redemption, the other of process, are beautiful reminders of the repeating patterns of His pursuit and refinement as well as the patterns making and creating. They are echoes of again and again. As artists, we resonate with this reminder, our brains are shaped by what we do, again and again. As psalters, we are reminded, that our spirits are shaped by what we worship, again and again.
God of all pattern, of all light, of all hope. Let our eyes see the again and again in your scripture, in our lives, in all that we do. Help us to remember when we watch the sun rise, that your mercies are new every morning. Give us sight so that when we read a great book, we could see that you are patiently making us new.
Our strength and our portion forever.
Our hope and our song.
Great is your faithfulness.
a Puritan Prayer from The Valley of Vision
O God the author of all good,
I come to Thee for the grace
another day will require for its duties and events.
I step out into a wicked world;
I carry about with me an evil heart.
I know that without Thee I can do nothing,
that everything with which I shall be concerned,
however harmless in itself,
may prove an occasion of sin or folly,
unless I am kept by Thy power.
Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe.
Preserve my understanding from subtlety of error,
my affections from love of idols,
my character from stain of vice,
my profession from every form of evil.
May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore
Thy blessing, and in which I cannot invite
Prosper me in all lawful undertakings,
or prepare me for disappointments.
Give me neither poverty nor riches.
Feed me with food convenient for me,
lest I be full and deny Thee and say, Who is the Lord?
or be poor, and steal, and take Thy name in vain.
May every creature be made good to me
by prayer and Thy will.
Teach me how to use the world
and not abuse it, to improve my talents,
to redeem my time, to walk in wisdom
toward those without, and in kindness
to those within, to do good to all men,
and especially to my fellow Christians.
And to Thee be the glory.
LAMENTATIONS 3: 1-26
I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has made my chains heavy;
though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;
he has made my paths crooked.
He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding;
he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces;
he has made me desolate;
he bent his bow and set me as a target for his arrow. He drove into my kidneys the arrows of his quiver;I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long.He has filled me with bitterness;
he has sated me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel,
and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, “My endurance has perished;
so has my hope from the LORD.”
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait
quietly for the salvation of the LORD.