Excerpt from Psalm 29
“The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. . . The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in the Lord’s temple all say, ‘Glory!'”
Reflection by Christina Villa
In the TV coverage of the storms and tornadoes this summer, I was struck by pictures of trees with their bark stripped off by the force of the wind. I didn’t know that could happen. I couldn’t begin to imagine a wind powerful enough.
Today’s scripture reads like a tornado report from biblical times. Trees whirl and snap, the forest is stripped bare. The psalm is clear that all this is caused by “the voice of the Lord,” to which the people say, “Glory!” Maybe that’s what they said when they saw evidence of something more powerful than they could imagine.
Today, we’re not very likely to give God glory for being powerful. We tend to think of power negatively and dwell on all the ways it can hurt and destroy and be abused. When was the last time you heard a prayer begin, “Almighty God”? Sometimes I hear “Gracious God,” and “Merciful God,” and “Loving God” so often that I wonder if God isn’t feeling a little pressured to exhibit only these qualities.
People abuse power; God doesn’t. What good, I wonder, are God’s mercy and grace if they aren’t accompanied by power?
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
About the Author
Christina Villa is on the staff of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio.
Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.
“The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the strangers; [the Lord] upholds the orphan and the widow.”
– Psalm 146:7-9
“I trace the rainbow through the rain and see the promise is not in vain.”
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