The Story for the
Third Sunday in Lent
March 7, 2021
prepared by the Rev’d Rhonda Waters
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament shows the handiwork of the Lord.
One day tells its tale to another,
and one night imparts knowledge to another.
Although they have no words or language,
and their voices are not heard,
their sound has gone out into all lands,
and their message to the ends of the world.
In the deep has God set a pavilion for the sun;
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again;
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the innocent.
The statutes of the Lord are just and rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear and gives light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever;
the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold,
sweeter far than honey, than honey in the comb.
By them also is your servant enlightened,
and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often they offend? Cleanse me from my secret faults.
Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me;
then shall I be whole and sound, and innocent of a great offense.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart
be acceptable in your sight; O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
Something to Do
Walking through Lent
This week’s breath prayer to accompany you on your walk:
This week, as you take a breath in,
The heavens declare
and, as you slowly release your breath,
the glory of God.
End your walk by thanking God for keeping you company.
One day tells its tale to another
Take some time at the end of the day – over dinner or before bed or even right after you turn out the lights – to tell the story of your day. Tell it to another person or tell it to God.
Did you rejoice like a champion about to run a race? Or did you drag yourself through the day and let the sun run its course without you?
Did you feast on the sweetness of God’s way or did you find it not to your taste today?
Did the song of creation fill your heart or did it fall on deaf ears?
Did you cause offence today – known or unknown?
Something to Wonder
The heavens declare the glory of the Lord
What does the song of the heavens sound like? Is there a particular hymn or song or instrument you hear when you listen for it? Particular words?
The request translated keep me from presumptuous sin in this version of Psalm 19 can also be translated as something more like “save me from arrogant enemies who would lead me astray”. Either way, the concern is for arrogant rebellion against God’s teaching or God’s call.
Have you ever thought you know better than God? When are you tempted to rely on yourself rather than God? What circumstances are most likely to trigger your arrogance? How do you respond?
Something to Learn
With thanks to the Rev. Geoff Chapman who shared this information back in the early days of Story at Home (May 2018).
Below is the image that everyone in the ancient world believed – not just the ancient Hebrews – this was the common understanding of how the world was.
People disagreed about whether God dwelled above the firmament alone, or a pantheon of gods lived beyond the firmament (and below in Sheol), but everyone agreed on this diagram, until the Middle Ages. Go back and read Genesis 1 again, with this picture in front of you. It will suddenly make sense when you read passages like this:
And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” (Gen. 1:6-8)
What was revolutionary about that passage thousands of years ago was the idea that one God could create the whole structure and system. If you worshipped the Sun, and suddenly there was a God who created not just the Sun but all there is, you would be shocked and amazed.
Astrology also made more sense in this time, as the sun, moon and stars were within the Earth dome, but closer to God. They were creatures like us (they moved, they must be alive, and they were very ancient, and so obviously very wise) and so they must have ancient wisdom to share, if we pay close enough attention to their patterns and movement.
back to Rhonda’s words:
Psalm 19 reflects this understanding of creation. It exists because God made it and it reveals God’s glory (verses 1-6). Creation is like the Torah – a gift of God for those with ears to hear (verses 7-11). Humans are called to respond with faithfulness, remembering that we, too, are created by God (verses 12-14).
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.