The Sweetness of the Lord

THE SWEETNESS OF THE LORD

READ: Psalm 90

Teach us to number our days that are ours, and we shall come to the heart of wisdom.  …Each morning fill us with Your faithful love.  We shall sing and rejoice all our days.  … Show Your servants the work of Your hands and the yearnings of Your heart; let their children and their children’s children enjoy Your splendor!  May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us, to confirm the work that we have done!” — Psalm 90:12,14,16-17

The Psalms, I believe, are inspired by God’s Spirit to accomplish this specific purpose … to put into words the dynamics of our human experience of God, both the struggle and the satisfaction.  In the Psalms, we can hear our human cry of frustration with both the limitations of our human understanding and the frailty of our human character.  In the Psalms, we can hear how the human soul responds to the awareness of the Divine Presence at work in our lives, in our community, and in our history.  In the Psalms, we can hear both the cries and whispers in the heart of the soul who is in search of true and authentic holiness.  Psalm 90 is one of those psalms.

Teach us to number our days that are ours, and we shall come to the heart of wisdom.  …Each morning fill us with Your faithful love.  We shall sing and rejoice all our days.  … Show Your servants the work of Your hands and the yearnings of Your heart; let their children and their children’s children enjoy Your splendor!  May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us, to confirm the work that we have done!

These verses so embody the Benedictine approach to Christian discipleship … “Teach us to number our days, and we shall come to the heart of wisdom,” … Each day is a day in the School of Christian Love – something to be learned, one more step in the journey to the heart of wisdom … Wisdom is gained through the faith living of each day, each day progressing further in the journey deeper, further, higher.

Yes, these verses so characterize the Benedictine approach to worship and devotion … “Each morning fill us with Your faithful love.  We shall sing and rejoice all our days …”  Beginning before the first light, we are singing … yes, in our ancient way … but still singing the songs of God.  And we keep singing through each hour of the day and each day as it comes.  We believe in the power of rejoicing in the face of struggle, bring to life the Life within.  We believe that God’s Love through Christ and is Spirit can both dwell within us and can be shared through us.
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Indeed, these verses speak of the Benedictine approach to our spiritual oneness with the Lord, our living partnership in our work in God’s Vineyard and in God’s Harvest Fields.  “Show Your servants the work of Your hands and the yearnings of Your heart… to confirm the work that we/We have done!”  We see ourselves as humble servants both of God and of God’s creatures.  We see our work not in terms of dollars and cents, in terms of prestige and status, but in terms of the peace which comes through the accomplishment of a day of holy labor, seeking in some small way to have served as the human hands of God’s Providence.  We believe that we are called to be at both work and play in the same resplendent of the Fields of the Lord.  We believe that we are called to enhance the heritage we have received so that it might be our legacy to those who follow us, our children and our children’s children, enriching the soil, not depleting it, planting far more than we ourselves would ever consume.

I find such a rich, rich experience in that phrase the Psalmist uses …”May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us…”  “May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us…”  … My Loved Ones, take a few quiet moments and repeat that prayer over and over … “May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us …”  And then quietly linger with it for awhile, reflecting upon it.  And ask … What is the sweetness of the Lord? …

The other day, we cleared ground for a new, small vineyard behind the Guest House… It was hard, hot work … but somehow, as the day wore on, … that holy work done with holy brothers tasted sweeter and sweeter and sweeter …  as if we had spent a day in quiet, joyful prayer.

Pax,

Brother Anthony of the Cross

(jim mcwhinnie)

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