This past Sunday, with the acrostic Psalm of Praise #145 as our lesson – our worshiping community ‘basked’ in God and learned that acrostics on almost any topic are generally not comprehensive treatises where one sentence logically leads to the next. Rather, acrostics are usually a collection of loosely connected statements all applying to a central topic. This is certainly the case with Psalm 145 (an acrostic in Hebrew).
In his commentary, Carlos Wilton says, “Psalm 145 is known not so much in its entirety, but piecemeal, by those who are familiar with Christian worship texts.” He then goes on to mention specific verses from the psalm, including 3, 8, 15 and 18, that have each made frequent appearances in calls to worship, invitations to confession and words of pardon in Christian liturgies. Wilton adds, “Psalm 145 is a veritable repository of worship texts.”
The central theme of Psalm 145, that which ties all the statements together, is plainly stated in the superscription: “Praise. Of David,” which is the only psalm identified this way. In Hebrew, “praise” is tehillah, and the Talmud says, “Everyone who repeats the Tehillah of David thrice a day may be sure that he is a child of the world to come.” The psalm is regularly used in morning and evening services in synagogues. And in the early church, it was the Scripture text used at the midday meal.
Psalm 145 makes its alphabetical assertions about the glory of God without attempting to explain or prove them. They are stated as self-evident truths in which we are invited to rejoice – to simply bask. Head on over to the text and listen for the ways God is with us; the places you might bask in God – on what God does, on how God is in you and under you and around you.
During worship we celebrated a few acrostics for GOD – Good, Omnipotent, Demanding; Gracious, Omniscient, Delightful; Glorious, Open-hearted,Dynamic; Giving, One, Dazzling.
And here are a few well-worn acrostics that are used in 12-step programs to help name a Higher Power… and like the acrostic in Psalm 145 – these help ground and define GOD for an individual without having to accept a Christian theology of God:
- GOD – Good, Orderly, Direction (the spiritual practice of the 12 steps)
- GOD – Group, Of, Drunks (the fellowship and community of 12 step programs)
- GOD – Great, Out, Doors (a spiritual presence in creation)
In any case – the point is to have something that you can grab hold of so that you can say, “I believe in you, God,” even as you have not figured it all out and are full of questions. An acrostic can be a great way to define and embody the idea that you need your own relationship with your own version God (a Higher Power). And it is ok for it to be aspirational!!
That’s what we did when we crafted this acrostic for SANCTUARY. Together during worship we collaborated on what Sanctuary is for us, and we wanted to share it with you…
- Sustaining, Sustainable, Spiritual
- All are welcome
- Nourishing mind, body and soul
- Creating and creative community
- Together towards justice
- Unity in Essentials, Charity in all things
- Arts and inspiration
- Restorative, reconciling, restful
What would you add, change, challenge, create? Send an email and we will add it to the mix!
BASKING in God, together, let us pray.
- Being together with one another and being together with God gives us much needed rest and encouragement.
- Almighty One, we bless your holy name with songs of joyful thankfulness.
- Some of us cry out for healing. Some of us cry out for comfort. Some of us cry out for safety. Some of us cry out for protection. Some of us cry out for wisdom. All of us long for your nearness.
- Knowing you are always God with us, we look for your resurrected life in the world around us.
- In the quiet of the early morning and late evening, we see you. In the cheers of crowds at games, performances, and celebrations, we see you. In the weeping of grief and the weeping of joy, we see you.
- Now may we take courage as we proclaim your works and declare your mighty acts.
- God, you have chosen us to be children of the resurrection. Basking in our identity gives us hope for all of creation to know your love. Amen.