United Church of Christ

Beforeness

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:14

Chances are good that you've heard this verse, or a version of it, prayed before many a sermon.

But it wasn't written with just that pregnant moment, when hope and anxiety brew and bubble in about equal proportion, in mind.

It's a prayer for every day, every time and every person. It's a prayer for living our lives, all our lives, before and unto God.

It seems to me that this is the peculiar way the Bible understands life. In every time and place, we live before God.

To the extent that our own understanding of life is shaped by the scriptures, worship and prayer, we too come to understand life as lived before and unto God. Life, you might say, as doxology. A song to God (sometimes more in tune than others).

But often and in some churches today, I get a different sense. It seems that life before God has been eclipsed by something else. The focus is elsewhere.

Less on God than on us.

And on the utopian human community we are supposed to be or create. Sociology trumping theology.

Personally, I go to church — at least in part — to get a break from me, from us. I go to remember God. I go to be reminded that I live always before and unto a gracious God. That is the shocking and precious reminder I most need.

Prayer

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.

ddrobinson.jpgAbout the Author
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. He is the author of many books, including What’s Theology Got to Do With It: Convictions, Vitality and the Church. You can read Tony's "Weekly Meditation" and "What's Tony Thinking?" at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.

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