Today in the life of the church we celebrate the Apologist and Author, Clive Staples Lewis. While I could write more than you’d want to read about what I think about the genius of C.S. Lewis, instead I would like to talk about Psalm 139 which is the appointed psalm for Clive’s feast day.
Psalm 139:1-9 Domine, probasti
1 LORD, you have searched me out and known me; *
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
2 You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
and are acquainted with all my ways.
3 Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.
4 You press upon me behind and before *
and lay your hand upon me.
5 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; *
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
6 Where can I go then from your Spirit? *
where can I flee from your presence?
7 If I climb up to heaven, you are there; *
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
8 If I take the wings of the morning *
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
9 Even there your hand will lead me *
and your right hand hold me fast.
How beautiful and awesome are those words! There is no place where God does not know us. There is no place we can go where God and God’s love for us will not find us. Not to the depths of the sea, or up to heaven, or even down to the dust of the grave. Even in those deep, distant, and deathly places, God’s strong sure hand will hold us, lead us, steady us. Nothing about us is unknown to God. Where we go, what we think, even the words we are about to say are already known to God.
But perhaps the best part is that God looks for us, God seeks us. Think about that for a moment: God comes to search us out, to know us. Amazing! This is God we are talking about, the creator of everything….who is coming to look for us, to search us out and to know us–even little old you and little old me. Or, broken sinful you and broken sinful me…”you are acquainted with all my ways,” writes the psalmist.
The message here is clearly one of solidarity with God–well, more like God’s solidarity with us. The words the psalmist writes about contain the truth of God’s omnipresence in our lives, in our world. There is no place where we can go where God, and the awesome, powerful love of God, cannot come and find us. God seeks us out…and finds us. Always.
P.S. Here is a paraphrase of this psalm, written originally by Blind Willie Johnson in 1929 and performed here by Blues legend, Corey Harris. If you’ve never heard this, you are in for a treat…simple and wonderful. Enjoy!