My thoughts (David Zier):
The book of Psalms is a collection of hymns composed in ancient Israel. Many of the Psalms fall into three categories; Hymn, Petition (a cry for help or complaint), and Thanksgiving. The book of Psalms is divided into five parts, 1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, and 107-150. This seems to be a deliberate parallel to the five books of the Torah(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy).
Let’s begin with Psalm 1.
When I was growing up, my parents did not go to church. Actually, my mom was Jewish, and my Dad, I think, is Presbyterian or Lutheran, but I really don’t know. My parents always taught us right from wrong, but gave us the space to be. When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to go to Clinton Baptist Church. This was a place that several friends and families in the neighborhood attended, and it was also the place where I played in a concert.
When I started to attend, the pastor of the church and his wife would pick me up and take me to church on Sundays. It was like the Pope was driving me to church. I probably did not know the difference at the time.
Whenever I would go to their house, they were real life Cleavers. The house would smell of fresh baked banana bread; it was presented orderly and clean; they were always dressed nicely; and they always treated people with such grace, generosity, and love. I always felt welcomed and loved in their home and in their presence.
To me, they were like the trees in Psalm 1. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, allowing the water (the spirit) to flow into them and yield fruit. Their leaves never withered. They prospered in all they did. Not in the way the world thinks of as prospering, but they prospered in showing God’s love and grace to everyone. I wanted to be them!
They were a good, early example for me, showing me what it means to be a Christian. I know I may not yet be a mature tree as they were and are today, but I pray that God will continue to grow me into a strong sturdy tree by the stream, yielding good fruit; a good example of God’s love and grace.
Prayer for the day: God, help me to grow in your spirit so I can be like a tree, planted by streams of water and bearing fruit. Amen.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.