1Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.3Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
Psalm 105 is inscribed on a Chinese scroll hanging in a Sunday school room in Antioch Baptist Church in Timberlake, North Carolina. The opening verses are arranged in a format to highlight the letters A-N-T-I-O-C-H. It is a thank you gift from our family to the church family who sent us out to the other side of the world, cryptically referred to as “the pink country”.
In 1996 a 3, 4 and 5 year old loaded up their blankies, a select few remaining stuffed animals, and set off with the parents to a land where bread was replaced by rice. Trees were planted in their memory, and now I carry a special wooden pen carved from one of those trees felled in a storm. The kids have also grown tall, not falling in the storms, but launching into their own lives. Coming back to Antioch I reconnect with those small children and the family of hope. It is almost too much to bear.
We went, not out of restlessness in North Carolina, but out of overflow of gratitude. “Give thanks to YHWH; call on his Name”. As young adults, fresh out of the Marine Corps and uncertain of our new civilian identities, each of us came to understand the grace of God in Christ and each of us called out in confidence to him. We told each other when we committed our lives to one another, that every day given was a bonus upon the amazing grace we had already received.
The Psalm, 105, is partially found in 1 Chronicles 16. It is the account of David bringing the Ark of the Covenant into the city of Peace. God with his people prompts songs. “Sing to him, sing praise to him;” God’s presence with his people; the God of grace and comfort; the one who rescues us from ourselves and a world turned upside down; it is a cause for poetic release; of lyric love.
In verses 1, 2 and 3 (“Glory in his holy name;”), the delight in the relationship with God, in gratitude, song and glorying, each result in the call to bring the goodness to others.
When we see God’s goodness, we share that with others. That is what we have tried to do. And now? What now?
“Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.”