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A Psalm for something as fickle as happiness

Jun 17, 2019 | Megan Ramer, Sermons

We begin a worship series on the Psalms and, with huge credit to Walter Brueggemann, Pastor Megan begins by exploring how folks “on the desperate edge of their lives” cried these prayers and songs destined to last and resonate for thousands of years. And because a Psalm is better prayed than preached, Pastor Megan launches from Psalm 1 to write her own Psalm, her own “deeply human utterance” directed to the God of the wester red cedar, the redwood, the sugar maple, and the gingko. It is, at the last, a Psalm for something as fickle as happiness.

Audio

Preacher

Megan M Ramer

b

Series

Summer Worship – Psalms

Passage

Resources

  • Walter Brueggemann, Praying the Psalms, (1982).
  • Kathleen A. Farmer, “Psalms,” Women’s Bible Commentary, (1992).
  • PHOTO: Tree at Cape Flattery, overlooking Neah Bay, at the northwestern-most point in the contiguous United States. Photo credit: Megan Ramer, 2019.

A Psalm for something as fickle as happiness
Megan M Ramer

God of the western red cedar, the redwood, the sugar maple, and the gingko.
I don’t know about happiness.
Frankly, I’m more interested in some justice at long last.
“Reject the path of violence,” – yes.
But too many people haven’t gotten that memo.
Too many systems are so entrenched in violence and harm that it threatens to overwhelm me
and lead me in paths of despair.
And about those criminals: Why would I refuse to associate with criminals
when our country is so screwed up about who it considers a criminal to be?
So bankers walk free
and desperate mothers sit behind bars?
No – like Jesus, let me associate with the supposed criminals
and challenge the world’s powers – the true criminals –
until all are free.
Truly free.

God of the douglas fir, the giant sequoia, the white oak, and the catalpa.
I don’t know about happiness.
Frankly, I’m more interested in some justice at long last.
When WILL that “Gathering of the Just” take place?
And … can I come?
Even though I’ve screwed up more than I’ve gotten it right?
Even though I’ve done my share of wrong?
May I come?
And though I’m sick of the wicked and the evil – yep I’ll call it evil –
the evil they perpetrate on this earth and on the people and creatures of this earth,
still … Can we please say that those lost are not irretrievably so?
Can we find something better for the wicked than perishing?
How about redemption?
How about reparation?
True recognition of and reparation of harm done?

God of the sitka spruce, the Joshua tree, the hickory, and the weeping willow.
Maybe I do know a little something of happiness.
Because when I imagine us – every last one of us – as a tree planted by a flowing stream.
When I imagine us – every last one of us – bearing good fruit and giving life.
When I imagine us – every last one of us – cooperating in just systems of flourishing.
Well, then I can imagine happiness indeed.

God of the ponderosa pine, the quaking aspen grove, the flowering dogwood, and the tamarack.
Make us just, kind, life-giving, and yes – at the last – happy.
And so: Amen.

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