Living Psalm 90 – Pentecost 24 A

Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12 for Pentecost 24 A

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.


Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12 for Pentecost 24 A


Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.

So the Psalm says, and in the good years, when joy is upon us,
it is easy to mark the passing of hours. They are pleasant,
so filled with human love we feel embraced by love that is divine.
Everything we gaze upon then shimmers with the rainbow of dawn,
with the fiery magnificence of a sunset before the skies are filled up with stars.

When everything is easy, we count wishes in the heavens, we sleep easy,
we rise each day renewed and ready to sing God’s praises.

But never does God seem so close as when the days grind past,
when our hearts are occupied with the friends who have gone,
with suffering in our own household and the suffering of others.
Never do we count the days or pray harder for wisdom and strength of heart
as we do when we are weeping.

Never have we looked so earnestly for God as when we are lost and lonely,
when we are consumed by our own anger, when grief hangs
like an unshakeable miasma.

The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong.

If we take our strength and portion it out, some of those years will be brilliant.
Some, we may not think about the dust we come from or dust we become.
If we are careful, if we conserve our resources,
some of those years might be easy, even.
But while joy is precious, and suffering 
may bring wisdom, to survive is to become magnificent – 
empathetic, passionate, filled with a need to ease the suffering of others.

And what more could God ask of us
than to work a little each day in the service of others,
though grief weigh on us, though joy distract us from hardship?
What more could God ask of us
than to weave pain together with the threads of happiness, 
to tie ourselves to the fate of the planet and her people?
What more is there than to pray for a heart that recognizes 
justice and joy, empathy and strength as wisdom.


Living Psalm Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12 for Pentecost 24 A  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  2020 Maria Mankin. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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