[Scott Wade, husband to Michelle and father to their two sons and two daughters, ministers with the Weyburn Church of Christ. The waiting theme of Advent comes somewhat naturally to Scott, a long-time Oakland Raiders fan!]
Today’s reading from Psalm 119:105-106:
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
A while ago on a Sunday night, I packed up my two sons in our van and we picked up a granddaughter of one of our church members to take the three of them back to their Christian High School. As soon as I turned out of the parking lot where the girl had been visiting her grandmother I drove into the silhouette of a building (it was a dark night) and noticed that there was no illumination in the front of my van. I immediately stopped, got out, walked to the front of the van and saw that there were no headlights. Gulp! Here I was wondering how I was going to drive 130 kilometres with no headlights. I drove the van home which was only about five minutes away, borrowed a car, and the problem was solved.
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm, as well as the longest chapter, in the Bible. It is the prayer of one who delights in and lives by the Torah, the sacred law. With its 176 verses, Psalm 119 has more verses than 13 Old Testament Books and 16 New Testament Books. This psalm is one of about a dozen alphabetic acrostic poems in the Bible. Its 176 verses are divided into twenty-two stanzas, one stanza for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The name of God (Yahweh/Jehovah) appears twenty-four times. This Psalm is important in the worship of the Orthodox Church. There is a tradition that King David used this psalm to teach his young son Solomon the alphabet—but not just the alphabet for writing letters: the alphabet of the spiritual life.
In the middle of the Bible we find the psalms, in the middle of the psalms we find Psalm 119, and in the middle of Psalm 119 we find verses 105 and 106.
We live in uncertain times. Times that are sometimes dark and need illumination. We know that we have a long journey ahead of us and are often unsure as to where that journey is going to take us. Psalm 119 says “Here is a way to make that journey.” The psalmist is thrilled that there is light for the path. Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation leading up to the celebration of the Christ entering the world. You could say late November until the last part of December is for many the most forward looking time of the year. Many people find themselves at this time of the year on a “journey” of some sort, either literally or metaphorically.
Recently a well known (in some circles) preacher named Fred Craddock preached his last sermon at the age of 83. He is hanging up his pulpit(?) after influencing many lives for generations. A while back he said, “We can only see as far as the headlights…but we can make the whole journey that way.”
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.