Living Psalm 111—Fourth Sunday after Epiphany B

Living Psalms Book

Psalms in the form of words and art, reborn in the specific contexts of our world, privileging the voices of historically marginalized communities and those acting in solidarity with them.

Living Psalm 111—Fourth Sunday after Epiphany  B

On any given day, God remembers our covenant. 
It’s a beautiful thing, especially when the choir is singing its alleluia 
and the stained glass is glinting just right. It’s just magnificent 
when we’re standing on the right side of the table, mouths full of promise. 

God’s word of hope and restoration rings out from the pulpit, 
and we are rapt or dozing or distracted by the fact that the pulpit is now just 
another screen, no different from most of our relationships this year. 
A small square, a slight buzz, a delay in the signal to remind us of how far apart
we are from those who used to make up for our shortcomings. 

This covenant, this deep and committed relationship between God and us, 
always seemed like a communal promise,
full of mercy and compassion, 
and others who could pick up the slack.
That word – covenant – never even meant 
much more than a rainbow, a spared son,
a disaster that happened to someone else. 

For years though, we’ve lived in disasters of our own making,
struggling to get out ahead of them,
to make some small difference that might allow us to sleep at night,
and then the earth spit up more obstacles, and the world shut down, 
and we had plenty of time to contemplate our relationship to God, and with God, 
and it was not easy or well-tended,
not with all those mentions of us instead of me.

But God does not forget a promise made just because we’ve realized 
how impossible it is to live up to it alone,
without our neighbors, without those 
who balance us and challenge us and heal us and serve us bread. 

God remains. 
God answers us still. 
God poses new questions, and sends us small gifts,
like the acrid smell of manure before snow,
the hazy headlights of taxi cabs cutting through fog,
the surprise of a phone ringing with a friend on the other end. 

There are signs, if we look, that God remembers,
even through our fear and doubt and isolation,
even as we try to shift the blame,
even though we fail and fall many times,
even when we are on the wrong side of the table 
and our mouths are empty and dry.

Living Psalm  111—Epiphany 4 B was written by Maria Mankin.

Living Psalms Book is created by UCC Witness & Worship Artists’ Group, a Network of UCC connected artists, activists and ministers bridging the worship and liturgy of the local church with witness and action in the community. 

Logo is detail from Living Psalm 80 by Sophia Beardemphl, Redwoods, CA. Recovering from significant bullying, Sophia, age nine, read Psalm 80 and thought of brokenness that needs mending. She drew this broken and mended bowl.

© Copyright 2021 Maria Mankin.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved.