What a joy it is to spend with the High School and Middle School youth of First Lutheran. Our first full day at Lutheran Memorial Camp was great. We spent the morning and early afternoon with the ladies of Advent Lutheran learning about their quilting program for Lutheran World Relief. They brought samples expecting us to learn and be curious. By the day we had two full quilts fully assembled!! We even had a few of our guys behind the sewing machine. I was impressed!! The rest of our day took us to the archery range, pool, campfire, and allowed time to spend with friends new and old. Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without mud. There is plenty of that as rain continues to fall on Ohio. Our prayers go out to our farmers and those who make a living off the land. Our night ended with conversation on the Psalms, and rather than simply read and reflect, we challenged each other with some interesting questions. Here’s what they had to say:
Our reading today:
Psalm 21 – Psalm 25
Verse 7 says that the “king (shall) trust in the Lord.” What if our leaders placed their trust in God? The world would be:
- Thing would run smoother
Why don’t our leaders put their trust in God?
- Because they are selfish
- They think they are better than God.
- They have too much power
- They think they are God.
All in all they felt it was better to rely on God, hence the them to their cabin banner:
Y’all need Jesus!
One comical/practical footnote came out of Psalm 21 and our archery lesson. Verse 12, “you will aim at their faces with your bows.” Please, don’t do that! Number one rule, do not aim at anyone!!!
This is a familiar Psalm to us as we read it every year on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. These words help us to recall the suffering of Christ. Here’s were our youth saw Jesus in these words:
- They cast lots for his clothing. V. 18
- All who see me mock me. V. 7
- My hands and feet have shriveled up. V. 16
- Son of God from birth. V. 10
- I am poured out like water. V. 14
- He has done it. V. 31
- They stare and gloat over me. V. 17
- My mouth is dried up. V. 15
Overall, our youth felt there was a “creepy vibe” to these words, as lions are tearing things open, tongues stick to the roof of their mouth, hearts are melting like wax, and death is seen in nearly every word.
From Palm 22, we go into the 23 Psalm, one of the most memorized and familiar passages of the Bible. Here are “Happy Vibes”!
Good things happen, and we nearly seem invincible because God is with us. We are all common, protected, and loved. Even our enemies??? That part we struggle with. Can we poison them? I was asked. No! Instead God invites all all to dine at the table together. So we are challenged by that image, yet realize that God loves them too.
One word of warnings, especially for Camp Life: The still waters, are flowing, and if you step into them your boots are going to get full of mud and gook.
Lift up your heads, O Gates!
Be lifted up, O ancient doors!
That the King of Glory may come in.
(V. 7 & 9)
Repeated this Psalm asks the question, “Who is the King of Glory?” The first time we read through the Psalm as a group, the inflection was spot on, you could hear the question. I think it actually was a question. “Who is this” that we want to welcome in? God of course! Our task is to open the gates and doors of our lives so that God can enter in.
We have to remember that these words were written in a day when city walls and guarded gates were real. They provided protection. They kept people out, and they kept people in. As an image of the day and time, it makes sense to the early readers/hearers to open the gates so that God, could come in. While the same image might not work for us it sounds better than “opening your garage door!”
Two constant images appear here, especially in verse 14:
The friendship of the Lord
is for those who fear him.
So what does it mean to be a friend with God?
- We like God, God likes us
- We can confined in God.
- We follow where God leads/guides
- We trust God
- We love God
Then what does it mean to fear God?
- We should respect God
- We need to obey what God says
- God is like a parent (we need to respect/obey them)
- We don’t want God to be disappointed, so we try our best.
All in all, great insight on behalf of our youth. Keep their in your prayers as we continue to work, worship, serve, and study together this week!
Readings for the next few days:
Tuesday, June 18: Psalm 26-31
Wednesday, June 19: Psalm 32-35
Thursday, June 20: Psalm 36-39
Friday, June 21: Psalm 40-45
Saturday, June 22: Psalm 46-50
Sunday, June 23: Psalm 51-57