Pastor Mary Loring

As the trees beginning turning their vibrant colors and the air grows crisp, I find myself brewing a lovely cup of herbal tea, grabbing a warm blanket, and heading to my cozy place in our home with the book of Psalms. Then I read until my heart has been opened and I am filled with the love of God. I feel as if this is a great time to do some cocooning.

For me the Psalms open my heart to God in a way no other scripture can. I especially like a book given to me called, Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness, by
Nan C. Merrill. What Eugene Peterson did for the whole of scripture with his paraphrase, The Message, I think Merrill has done specifically with the Psalms. I often read a psalm from the New Revised Standard Version and then reread it in her book. Take Psalm 1 for instance, the two ways:

  1. Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
  2. but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.
  3. They are like trees
planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
  4. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
  5. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
  6. for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (NRSV)

Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness, Who stand beside virtue, who sit in the seat of truth;

For their delight is in the Spirit of Love, and in Love’s heart they dwell day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water, That yield fruit in due season, and their leaves flourish;

And in all that they do, they give life.

The unloving are not so; They are like dandelions which the wind blows away.

Turning from the Heart of Love they will know suffering and pain.

They will be isolated from wisdom; for Love knows the way of truth,
the way of ignorance will perish as Love’s penetrating Light breaks through hearts filled with illusions: forgiveness is the way.

(Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness)

Then I contemplate the differences, why I like one version over the other, and what Light breaking through my heart I will take on my journey that day.

As we grow together, I would love to hear how you draw closer to God during the week. This is just one of the many established routines, or what can be defined as spiritual disciplines, that I utilize to stay close to and in love with God.

What are your established routines? Do you have any? Need some ideas? I would love to hear what you are doing to create worship space and time for yourself and God during your week.

May we all be like trees planted by streams of water, that yield fruit in due season, and have our leaves flourish so that in all we do we give life. Happy cocooning, and who knows? By spring we could all have grown into beautiful butterflies.

— Pastor Mary