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Psalm 63:1-8

Comfort and Assurance in God’s Presence

A Psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah.

1 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. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

5 My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips 6 when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Several years ago, the congregation I served participated annually in a program called the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). This organization was first established by the United Methodist Church and later expanded to other faith communities. ASP works in the counties that make up Appalachia in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia. The staff would work with local agencies to find where the greatest needs were that could be addressed by volunteers to make homes drier, safer and warmer.

I recall our first year participating in the program. We learned about the communities we would be serving and the issues of poverty and unemployment that have plagued the area for decades. At the same time, we honed our building skills with the help of congregation members who shared their gifts with us.

The time came for us to go for a week of service. We arrived on Sunday to the school we were staying for the week, sleeping on the floors, and eating in the cafeteria. We were assigned a home to work on and given details before our first day began early on Monday.

We were told that Mondays were called “Mosey Mondays.” Instead getting to the homes and starting the work, we were encouraged to take our time. Meet the family, find out some about them, and begin to build a relationship. We were going to be in their homes for the next five days, and it would be good to be mindful of the space and the people.

I had heard that this was the plan. The training materials mentioned it. The ASP staff told us about it. We all knew it. But when we got there, I was anxious to get the power tools out and do my best Bob Vila imitation on the project! I remember being upset when I walked around to the front of the house and saw one of the ASP staff members sitting on the front porch, drinking a cup of coffee and talking with the matriarch of the house. I thought, “I am taking a week of my time to help these folks out, and you’re sitting here drinking coffee?”

I didn’t get the reason for Mosey Monday. I was there to work. I wanted to help. I didn’t have time to sit and visit.

I missed the point.

The reason we were there was to help, yes. But we were also there to build relationships.

Over the years of serving, I cannot tell you the details of the projects that we accomplished. But I can tell you about the families we served. I can tell you of the woman who made the best biscuits from scratch I have ever tasted. I can tell you of the young girl who I asked to help me by telling me to duck every time I went through the bathroom doorway where we were working. For the rest of the week, she called me “Duck.” I can tell you of the family that harvested wood from Sugar Maple trees to be sold to Gibson Guitar company for acoustic guitars. I can tell you stories of families that I came to know as friends in Christ.

The psalm today, I believe, is a call for you and me to focus on our relationship with God.

I know it isn’t Monday, and I didn’t get everything done on Monday I wanted to do anyway. And now there are more things on my agenda, and I am ready to get the power tools out and hit it! But what if we took some time for a Mosey Monday with God (or Tuesday)? For God reminds us over and over again that it’s not about the work. It is all about the relationship.

Let us pray: Dear God, slow me down. Help me to stop focusing on all that needs to be done and refocus my eyes on You and those You have given to me to care for and to love. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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