O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Every week in the lectionary we are given readings from the Old Testament, the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Psalms. I find that so often the Psalms are overlooked when it comes to preaching or devotions, as most people (myself included) prefer to focus on the other scriptures. However, I think we do a disservice to ourselves when we do that too often, as the Psalms contain some of the most beautiful portions of scripture.
When reading the Psalms it is important to remember what, exactly, you are reading. The Psalms were written by people to God, they were used in ancient worship and often set to music of some sort. You could almost think of the Psalms as the first hymnal. As such, they are poetry, and in them, you find the most passionate words of praise, promise, and lament. This week's psalm is one of praise - as the writer describes first how they long for God, and then how God has responded when they have been in need. The first line of this psalm is where I want to focus, as it struck a chord with me this week.
Have you ever been really thirsty? Like, bone dry, scratchy throat, feel the need in every inch of your body, thirsty? I have. It's not a fun experience. When you get that thirsty, it becomes all you can focus on. Your whole body, mind, spirit, becomes attuned to where you might get water from, when you might be able to relieve this thirst; it becomes the sole focus of your being. Imagine longing for God in this deep, visceral way. Imagine longing for God so much that it becomes all you can think about.
And then remember what it feels like when you finally get to sate your thirst - that glorious feeling of relief and joy. Imagine feeling like that about noticing and acknowledging the presence of God in your life. Perhaps that is something we can focus on in the week to come - paying attention to where God is, so we can appreciate and enjoy God all the more.
God who responds to all my needs, thirst, hunger, and longing for you. Help me to see your presence in my life, to never take you for granted, and to share the blessings you give with those around me. Amen.