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Psalm 111

Praise for God’s Wonderful Works

1 Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. 2 Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. 3 Full of honor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. 8 They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it[a] have a good understanding. His praise endures forever.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I love that line.

Charlie (not me, another guy with the same name) is one of the wise saints I had the privilege of getting to know as his pastor for several years.

Charlie worked for nearly 40 years at Battelle as a physicist. He loved the inquisitive nature of his job and was proud of the work he did. He was a brilliant man and a gifted scientist.

Charlie used his gifts in the church as well. He held several leadership positions in the church, and as a lover of history, compiled and cared for much of the historical records of the congregation. When I first arrived at that church, Charlie told me that he wanted to share what he could about the church with me, because he was starting to forget. He knew his memory was getting worse. Alzheimer’s was the diagnosis.

I had the privilege of participating in several Bible studies with Charlie on Thursday mornings. Some would tell you their interest in Bible study stemmed from a greater desire to participate in Millie’s rolls and pastries (Charlie was married to Millie), but still, we studied scripture together. More than once, when we were trying to make sense of some difficult passage or aspect of God in scripture, Charlie would caution the group that sometimes we just cannot completely understand it all. Sometimes we just have to accept things by faith.

What I appreciated about Charlie is that this gifted, incredibly intelligent scientist exemplified in his life that science and religion CAN go together. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. In science, Charlie saw the wonder of God, in God’s creation. Through God and in God’s handiwork, Charlie saw the wonder of science. Not that we can explain it all, but we certainly can marvel in it. That is what Charlie shared with me.

Wisdom. Sometimes wisdom is knowing that we don’t know all the answers. Sometimes wisdom is about dwelling in the questions.

Let us Pray: Thank you God for the saints who have come before us, the saints who will follow us, and the saints that are on the journey with us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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