My thoughts (David Zier):
As I read Psalm 112, the beginning phrases, verses 5 through 9 (NRSV), reminded of someone I know:
- It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
- who conduct their affairs with justice.
- For the righteous will never be moved;
- they will be remembered forever.
- They are not afraid of evil tidings;
- their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
- Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
- in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
- They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
- their righteousness endures forever;
- their horn is exalted in honor.
When I think about the people who have been a good source of wisdom for me, or those whom I have looked up to for spiritual guidance, these words and phrases provide me with a reminder of some of the ways (not all) that I would describe them. One particular person whom this passage reminded me of was someone whom I knew for a number of years; she died a few years ago after battling cancer for several years. Let’s call her Pam.
Pam had a witty sense of humor, was very real, and would share all of her life, the good and the bad. She wasn’t perfect. She was very grounded in the things she believed, loved her family immensely, and lived out those beliefs in her way. She liked spending quiet time with God, and she chose to live with no TV. She would watch DVDs rarely, but she did not have a television. She loved to play and listen to music, sing, read, and play games. She especially loved Contra Dancing. This can be referred to as New England folk dancing, but has origins in English country dancing. The band she played in would provide the accompanying music, which would include Irish, Celtic, Scottish, French-Canadian, and old-timey folk songs. I have participated in Contra Dances several times; it is like square dancing, but on steroids, if that makes sense. Movement is constant and you change partners often, regardless of gender.
When Pam was in seminary, her field education year was spent working with a non-profit organization that lost their director. Her role was to re-organize, to help obtain a new director, and to re-energize and re-invent the organization as a source for resources for the most needy and the working poor. She was not feeling well that year, but she poured herself into this ministry because she really believed in it. When her year was completed, I stepped in because I was doing an internship at a church supporting this ministry. I was honored to be carrying the torch for another six months, through more changes in directorship, location, operating board, and how it worked within the community.
I remember Pam going on trips with her family and friends so that she had quality time with the people she loved in the places she wanted to see. I recall when she shared with me that she knew she did not have much time left, and that she was okay that she was not going to be around long enough to see her granddaughter born; she was at peace. She quietly retreated, but surrounded herself with friends and family in her own way, and she allowed time to pass the way it was supposed to, meeting with her kids and friends near the end.
She sought God’s justice in what she did. She is remembered for all that she was. She was secure in God. She was steady in her faith, and lived life to the fullest, even to the end. She was thoughtful and generous, and gave what she could. Was she perfect? None of us is perfect. Was she growing on her journey to where God was taking her? My experience and observation says yes. She lived the best life that God had given her, learning from her mistakes. There is no better wisdom one can offer. There is no better righteous way to live.
Prayer for the day: God, help me to be more thankful for those around me who support me on my journey. Peace. 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.