O Lord you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down,
you are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.
Where can I hide from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from you presence?
If I ascend to the heavens, you are there.
If I take wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
For it was you who formed my inmost parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
Search me, O God and know my heart;
Test me and know my thoughts.. . .
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Having sung or chanted the entire psalter each week for many years, this psalm of King David, along with psalm 50 (David’s Prayer of Contrition) have always returned my own spirit to the loving womb of God. I call it the Old Testament version of Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son. For me, a person who in some ways is very self critical with both failing and talents, the psalm is a reminder that God loves me anyway, as have other souls over the years.
How often I have said (or heard it from others) I wish I could live my life over again. God does not want me or any of us to live our lives over again. God wants me to be free and genuine. Even when I have wanted to run from God, or the Atonement family in my soul’s trying moments. I could not, for Atonement exemplifies the womb of God, the inescapable love I cannot run away from that the psalm speaks of.
I told my family, grand nieces and nephews on down, not long ago that I cannot attend all their weddings, etc. I wish them well and hold them in prayer. I received a couple replies, like, “well if you weren’t so involved with your church, or made a pledge to it, you could do more family things. You need to get a life.” I answered back: “Atonement is my life.” What hit me emotionally was that when I ordained and a religious in vows, the family was proud to see me take on a life apart from them. It was like some could not see that the laity are asked to live the same spirit of the gospel.
It is sometimes painful to open the door of your heart. The Atonement community has done much to fill my heart at a time of great void during a huge change in my life. I am so thankful the inescapable God continues to hold the door open for me.
Recall a time when you tried to escape the inescapable love of God?How has your Atonement family blessed you in a time of void?
- Chris P.