Wednesday of Pentecost – Psalm 139:1-12 (13-16)

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
     If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

Perspective makes a difference. The senior citizen and the school child come to Memorial Day from very different places. One has a day off from school and the other a day to remember and grieve the passing of friends, family, and loved ones. One nonagenarian once told me that the worst part about living so long was that all his friends had died, and it seem like all he did any more was go to funerals. Take a few minutes this Memorial Day to talk to an elderly person who is grieving.

What is the perspective of the psalmist today? I like to read it as the song of one of those people whom Ezekiel preached into life in the reading from yesterday (Ez. 37). “You formed my inward parts and knitted me together,” says the psalmist. “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” I was born in water and blood both in my mortal birth and again in a baptismal font. I am married to a nurse and sometimes she comes home amazed at the wonders of the human body and its capacity to heal. If I marvel at the intricacy of my body and the marvels of my life, how much more can I marvel at the new life which has been given to me in Christ and through the work of his cross and empty tomb?

“If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” The bones of the valley of Ezekiel’s vision were the people of God, without hope. Ezekiel preached and they lived. They were in the grave and now they stood a mighty host. Christ finds me in the death of sin and finally in the grave where my mortal remains shall be placed. He is already there, has been since he carried the cross up the hill and died there. He is there to give me life.

Sing this psalm anew, as one whom Christ has resurrected in Baptism and as one who looks forward to that final resurrection on the last day.

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