Thursday, December 8

Liturgical artist, Union alumna and staff member, Crystal Sygeel, pauses for a reflective encounter with the shepherd, psalmist, and king, David, in this season of Advent.

advent-2Psalm 62 (For use with the EVENING Daily Prayer)
Song of Trust in God Alone
To the leader: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.

My soul is actually quite turbulent, loud, a noisy cymbal, a clanging gong- which reminds me that I Corinthians Chapter 13 verse 1, describes that as the opposite of love. I think I am already off to a bad start.

 And not I’m not much better off with verse 2 of Psalm 62. Ultimately, I’m certain that God is my salvation. But I’m shaken on a fairly regular basis by forces within and beyond my control.

 Wouldn’t it stand to reason if I knew God was my rock,
I wouldn’t rattle around like a shaky tea cup so much?

3 How long will you assail a person,
will you batter your victim, all of you,
as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.
They take pleasure in falsehood;
they bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.

At first, I’m reluctant to admit any resonation with being a battered victim
but then it occurs to me that I know something about feeling like a leaning wall,
a tottering fence.

 I’m not aware of any conspiracy against me, but I’m aware of feeling overwhelmed,
over-extended. It creates a darkness, a tunnel vision, a waiting for something to break through and wake me, or  save me. 

 In this season of Advent, the Christ Child comes to set things aright: leaning walls, tottering fences, people waiting in overwhelming darkness.


5 For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honour;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

 8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

Pour out my heart before God? What would I say?

Or more to the point, what would I not say? My list of worries
and grievances is long.

 But that notion makes me squirm in my chair.
Why list the worries and grievances first?

Where is my praise and adoration?
This is the season of Advent and God is on the way.
Where is my joy?  My anticipation?
My longing to draw close to Bethlehem with wonder and awe?

9 Those of low estate are but a breath,
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no confidence in extortion,
and set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

An exhortation to  remember what this life is truly all about.    When you and I are able to kneel at the side of the manger, status, wealth, and achievement all fade away. The seed of desire to walk the path of righteousness – to make the world as it should be-  is planted in the heart.

11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12   and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
according to their work.

In this season of darkness and waiting, I’m traveling once more to Bethlehem to see you.

Though sin and failure are sure, I’m hoping against hope that there will be one less time I fail you, one less time I squander the gifts you’ve given me, one less time I turn my back on the world you have called me to serve.

 Steadfast love does belong to you, O God…because you came in human form, with all of your power, you allowed us to cradle you in our arms. Steadfast love belongs to you because you  later invited us into ministry. And when it seemed we had lost everything in your death, you returned everything to us in your resurrection.

 You took a chance on us, and every time we failed, you still believed in us.  

You believe in us, you believe in me, even now.

Rev. Crystal Sygeel
Communications & Event Coordinator
Richmond, VA


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