Monday, May 4, 2020

“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.” —Psalm 107:2-3

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for humankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” —Psalm 107:8-9

I haven’t done a whole lot of overseas traveling, but when I have taken an airplane over an ocean, I’ve been struck by this strange reality. On the one hand, this airplane is flying incredibly fast, on a fantastically efficient route, and yet it takes so many hours to get to the other side. This makes the other side of the ocean seem almost impossibly far away, as if it’s almost a different category of space from the one I’m used to. On the other hand, all of this traveling is over space that seems, in some ways, pretty ordinary. Of course, a lot of it is incredibly beautiful, but the vast ocean or an entire continent is really just made up of water and land—stuff I’m pretty used to. This combination of familiarity and expanse can be hard to hold together in my head. I’m both struck by the similarities between different places and in awe of the vastness of this earth.

When I read the psalmist’s words about God’s love for humanity, I’m struck by a similar idea. This psalm reminds me that the Lord’s “unfailing love” and “wonderful deeds” cover the whole earth, cover all people, cover those who are close by and those who are far away. It’s vast almost beyond comprehension.

And, at the same time, this love is made up of the specific. This love is not just for humanity. This love is for individual people, for specific families, for tribes and nations in all their wonderful particularity and uniqueness. It’s for you. It’s for me.

That combination—as mind-bending as it is—is beautiful, wonderful news.

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