Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday Evening Tuesday Morning

Yesterday afternoon was lovely spring weather, and Linda and I worked out in the front yard. She sprayed camellia plants that are covered under-leaf with some kind of mites or flies or something, then we did lots of trimming and pruning. As sunset came on we were trimming down in the lower part of the front yard, when the clear sound of the Star Spangled Banner came drifting across a very calm St. Andrew Bay from Tyndall AFB, and I snapped a photo with my iPhone. No hymn of the Church is more stirring and moving, what a perfect way to end any day of life -- and when all is said and done even life itself. 






Tuesday has come round, and our morning Bible seminar. It’s a great time, and the table is always filled even though the crowd varies a bit from week to week. 
During this Epiphany Season we’ve been exploring the Apocrypha and various books of the Apocrypha. Basically, it’s 14 or 15 books (depending on who prepared the list) of scripture that are in the Vulgate Bible and the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) but not in the Hebrew Bible. In our Bible it’s found either between the Old Testament and New Testament or tucked away after the New Testament. The Apocrypha has an interesting history, including Jerome’s role and the fact that the Protestant churches dismissed it during the 16th Century Reformation, while the Anglican Church retained it as non-canonical and valid for learning but not for doctrine. In our seminar we’ve briefly explored the books that the Episcopal Church uses in our Lectionary. We’ve checked out, as well as our two canticles that come from the Song of the Three Young Men, our Sunday readings from the Apocrypha -- and the gospel readings that they were selected to complement. 
This morning we’ll put the Apocrypha on “hold” and look at the Gospel according to Mark, the author’s tradition, history and agenda, browse through Mark’s entire gospel. Everyone is invited and welcome, doesn't matter what church folks belong to, any church or no church at all.
Next week, we’ll return to the Apocrypha and read some of the interesting stories that are hidden in there.
Gather for coffee and friendship in my conference room, 1011 E. Third Street, Panama City through the garage between 9:45 and 10:00, convene with prayer at 10:05, adjourn at 11:15 sharp. 
The garage door is always open. Don’t miss it!!
And BTW, our adult Sunday School class at Holy Nativity is doing similar things during Epiphany. 9:15 to 10:15 in the Mary Stuart Poole Library.
Tom+ 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Silver Streak



In the 1940s and 1950s a joy of going to the postoffice was the sometime opportunity to rush across the street to the Lloyd Pontiac Cadillac showroom, 

look at the cars, peruse the brochure rack quickly, and take any new car folder that wasn’t already in my stash. The building is a Merrill-Lynch office today.

Much of that stash is stored safely upstairs in the car trunk Joe gave me some years ago, one of my treasures.

Seems to me Rayford said his father got into the car business in 1935, and they sold one car their first year, the worst part of the Great Depression. 

My guess is, it was a Pontiac. The 1935 model was the first year Pontiac used the “Silver Streak” and it lasted through the 1956 model year. 

From the 1935 model on, GM cars, including Pontiac, boasted the solid steel “turret top,” a huge design step forward from the old fabric tops.

My friend Weldon once told me that he had a 1935 Chevrolet Standard, which did not have the turret top, and the roof leaked on the passenger side; on dates, his girlfriend had to scoot over close to him to keep from getting wet. So maybe the turret top was not a step forward after all. 


Distinctive to Pontiac cars, the silver streak was a wide ribbon that started in the front of the car with the grill and hood ornament, and swept down the hood to the windshield. For some years but not all, it picked up on the rear of the car at the back window and flowed down the trunk lid.

The 1955 and 56 models had dual silver streaks. The distinctive Pontiac ribbon was discontinued with the 1957 model year. 

For the 1935 model year only, GM cars, including Pontiac, had what now is called “suicide doors” - back-hinged, front-opening doors for the front doors. They were unique to that model year. Rumble seats were still in vogue too.

Offering both six and eight cylinder flat-head engines, Pontiac was then called a “medium priced” car in the GM line (Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac). It was always one of my favorites.  

During our Pennsylvania years, Linda and I had two Pontiac cars, one a gold Firebird. But in my growing up years of the 1930s, 40s, 50s, the only Pontiac we had was the 1936 Silver Streak business coupe that my father bought used in the forties and converted into a pickup truck for use in his fish business. 

TW

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oh, I Didn't Know That

Oh, I Didn’t Know That
During the Epiphany Season our Bible readings for Sunday morning often contain something of an epiphanic nature to discover, to realize. Just so this morning with verses from Deuteronomy 18. Moses is telling the people God’s promise for the future. 15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. An epiphany task in Sunday School this morning may be to discover who that prophet might have been in gospel retrospect ages later.
Another task might be to explore today’s gospel a bit: Mark 1:21-28. And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. (KJV). What’s going on? It’s not simply that Jesus casts out demons; rather, Mark’s entire gospel agenda is encased in this passage; discovering that may be something of an epiphany to be realized.
We’ll see.
Both last Sunday and the Sunday before, people asked me to tell again my own personal epiphany story. It’s weird, a bit squirmy and discomfiting, highly doubtful, and makes me uncomfortably self-conscious -- therefore seldom told and never open for discussion later. But it’ll come out one last time in my sermon this morning, and then we'll forget it forever.  











My Laughing Place.
TW+  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Alma Mater

Alma Mater
Last evening we went to the Luau at Holy Nativity Episcopal School, put on by the PTO. The auditorium-cafeteria-chapel was decorated nicely, the desserts were special, and the supper of bbq, beans, and slaw from Pineapple Willy’s was excellent! Beyond excellent was the company, and just plain being there. What a happy place. Oh my, what a happy place!
Linda and I walked down the hall of the Bill Lloyd Building to look at the penguins the children had made, all different sorts of penguins. Lots of art up and down the hall. Flags of nations. Posters about grandparents. The 48-Star American Flag that flew in my years there. To the right of The Flag the photo of my Cove School graduating Class of 1949, yep, that’s me. 
Out the new doors at the south end of the building under the clear sky, moon and a couple planets, the little red schoolhouse looks great with imaginative landscaping: the HNES arch.


Cove, Cove, dear old Cove,
thee we’ll never fail.
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
hail to Cove, all hail!
TW+  


Friday, January 27, 2012

A Very Equal Day


All days are equal, and some days are more equal than others, and, looking at the sky this morning, this day looks to be especially equal. Especially for January. Clear blue sky and sixty something degrees F. The icing on the cake being that, after rising for an old man chore at one-thirty then getting back in bed with a cup of coffee and a chapter of Karen Armstrong’s The Bible, my next waking was six o’clock for a second cup of coffee in bed, while looking across St. Andrew Bay at Shell Island, and wearing my Life Is Good hat as I read the PCNH comics. 
Further, the cherry on the icing being that there was a leftover piece of rare steak in the refrigerator for a breakfast of steak sandwich on that very thin 35-or-so calories per slice wheat bread that they sell at Bill’s for seventy-five cents a loaf when the Pepperidge Farm man brings it. And another second cup of black coffee from my magic machine.
The only way the morning could have been even more equal would have been a sandwich of half-dozen baked oysters on wheat toast.
Life Is Good. 
Life IS Good.
And everyday is a beautiful day.
Thanks be to God, and to
Linda for the children and grandchildren,
Alfred for the house, 
Arlene for the LIG hat, 
George Orwell for the thought, and
Bill for the gospel that Every Day is a Beautiful Day.

TW+

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Enlighten the Eyes of Your Heart



πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν
Open the eyes of my heart Lord, 
Open the eyes of my heart, 
I want to see You. I want to see You.
What goes round comes round, and one thing leads to another, especially during Epiphany Season.
Many Christians read some sort of a daily devotional, some folks journal, some simply open the Bible and start reading, some have a disciplined Bible reading plan, some follow the Sunday or Daily Office Lectionary. Many have a book such as My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. A favorite of many Episcopalians is Forward Day By Day. During my growing up years there was always a copy of Foward in the house, that tiny book, just pocket-size, that was available in the tract rack at church. It’s also offered in large size, and naturally now available online. http://forwardmovement.org/Today-s-Meditation/  In fact, the “light” image above is their banner, which I have no right using, but it happened to be so perfect this morning.
Surprisingly, perhaps astonishingly for one of my very different biblical perspective, mine is Days of Praise that is waiting in my email every morning from The Institute for Creation Research. It gives me another perspective from my own. More, the author, HMM III, is a bright scholar whose Hebrew and Greek knowledge is often helpful to me. Just so this morning, turning on lightbulbs.
There was a period in the life of our parish when we sang lots of “praise songs” from the evangelical and pentecostal branches of the Church. Not to be cute, clever or cryptic, but that was a period that does not want revisiting and I’m not going there this morning; but one of the songs we sang often was “Open the Eyes of My Heart.”
Open the eyes of my heart Lord, 
Open the eyes of my heart, 
I want to see You. I want to see You. (2x)
Shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love, 
As we sing holy, holy, holy.
Holy, holy holy. Holy, holy, holy.
Holy, holy, holy, I want to see You. (2x)
“Eyes of the heart” is a strange image, but it’s a delightful metaphor that, as HMM III reminded me this morning, is entirely scriptural, comes from Ephesians 1:18:
πεφωτισμένους τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς τῆς καρδίας ὑμῶν 
enlighten the eyes of your heart
What goes round comes round, and what came round to me this morning is this praise song, that now is going round in my mind.
TW+

     

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1 Corinthians 8

1Corinthians 8 (NRSV)
Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that all of us possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3but anyone who loves God is known by him.
4 Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that no idol in the world really exists, and that there is no God but one. 5Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8Food will not bring us close to God.’ We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak. 10For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall. 
The Bible often has a word for us today even if the original context is no longer relevant in modern society. It’s the case with the Scripture above, which is our second reading for the upcoming Sunday. When Saint Paul wrote this, he was concerned about wise folks turning ignorant folks to sin and away from the Lord. In that day and age it was common for animals to be sacrificed to the worship of idols and then the meat to be sold in the marketplace. Many believed that buying and eating that meat was the same as participating in the worship of the idol to whom the animal had been sacrificed. Paul knew, and knowledgable, sophisticated Christians knew, that sacrificing to idols was ridiculous nonsense, and that eating the meat was meaningless. But Paul also knew that many ignorant, innocent people, including many naive Christians, still believed that eating the meat was the same as worshiping the idol. And Paul knew that such naive people who were Christians were being scandalized that their more sophisticated Christian neighbors thought nothing of buying and eating such meat, and took it to mean that they were still worshiping idols and that it was right to do so. Paul’s command -- it’s an exhortation actually, not a command -- is that knowledgable people must be mindful of the effect they are having on naive people, and careful not to scandalize others or lead them to sin. Even though “sacrificing to idols and eating the meat” seems to us a silly thing to be concerned about, Paul’s caution about scandalizing others is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it twenty centuries ago.
When the Reverend Canon Gene Robinson was elected bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, I was quite vocal about my strong opposition. My opposition was not that a gay person was to become a bishop, gays have served God, Family, Church and Country since the beginning of time and it’s a non-issue with me, what my old friend George Chapel used to call “a non-event.” My opposition was based on 1 Corinthians 8, knowing as I did because it was obvious to anyone with good sense, that this ordination would offend and scandalize not only many Episcopalians but a large part of the worldwide Anglican Communion; and it was clear that there would be schism locally and internationally because of it. Robinson’s ordination went forward and sure enough, people were and are scandalized and there was and is schism.
At the time, I felt that our doing this to Church and Communion would be a sin. Today though, nearly ten years on, some other things have surfaced and become clear to me, of which I was ignorant, innocent, naive when Bishop Robinson was elected and consecrated. Among some Americans, and even among some Episcopalians, and especially among several major Anglican groups in different parts of the world and in different cultures, there is vehement hatred of gays; and in some places and cultures, unspeakable persecution. Seeing this has caused the lightbulb to come on in my head, my own discovery and realization, my own -- epiphany -- that I would not in any event wish to be in the same Church and Communion with folks for whom hatred is a basis of their Christianity. 
This I say though God love them and me alike; and all the while trying to be mindful of my own sins known and unknown, things done and left undone; and that I have not loved God with all my heart, nor my neighbor as myself; and that in ways unknown to me, I myself may be leading others to sin in disobedience of 1 Corinthians 8; and that as a priest I am, more than anyone else I know, susceptible to this sin of leading good and trusting folks astray. To live humbly in that tension is the hardest part of the whole thing.
TW+

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Birthday

Take off everything but your birthday suit.
My surgery appointment was 5:15 a.m. One year ago just now I was lying on a gurney, bundled up warm and snug, clutching a bottle of nitrostat tablets, alone in the enormous corridor of the operating center at the Cleveland Clinic heart institute. Friends and loved ones had given me a hug, Father Steve had anointed my forehead with oil, and I was wheeled away to my destiny! 
Mine was the first gurney to arrive, and the only one so far. Huge sliding doors opened into innumerable operating rooms on both sides of the hallway. Large machines were being wheeled into various ORs being prepped for surgery, technicians, doctors and nurses gathering. The door to my OR rolled open, someone came out and introduced himself as my anesthesiologist, chatted with me a moment, and probably slipped me a mickey. More machines were wheeled in. Other gurneys began arriving and were parked outside other ORs. A few minutes later my gurney was rolled into the OR. On one side of the room, my surgeon, Dr. Joseph Sabik, conferred with other surgeons, nurses and technicians as others shifted me from the gurney to the operating table. A drip was started, and that was it. 
Friends and neighbors, open heart surgery is as easy as that. Piece of cake. No worries, you don’t feel or know a thing. The previous evening I had rehearsed in my mind all the old memories that I wanted to dream while I was out of it during surgery. That rehearsal had been fun, but turned out to be a complete waste: there was not one dream, no memories, simply total absence. 

MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2011 1:40 PM, CST
Day 1: Extraordinary Time
Dad is out of surgery. The surgeon said it could not have gone better. Replaced aortic valve, two bypass grafts, and it was going so well that he repaired the mitral valve for good measure.
We can see him in ICU in about an hour.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We will keep you posted on his recovery until he tears this iPad out of my hands!
Tass, reporting for:
Linda, Tass and Joe
Today is my sister’s birthday, she’s 39 again. Linda says this is my birthday too now, one year old in my new life!!

Open heart surgery? Piece of cake. Chocolate. 

Tom+ in +Time

Monday, January 23, 2012

Not Sardonic



Not Sardonic 

January two years ago was bitter cold. Weather now, 66 overcast, 100% humidity, perfect January dawning, Monday -- T-storms?   

For eight years we lived in Pennsylvania, in the aura of Joe Paterno, and cannot help feeling the tragedy and anguish. Sue Paterno said “After sixty-one years, he deserved better.” Yes, he did. Someone said “He died of a broken heart.” Yes, he did. Are you proud, Sandusky? Shame, Sandusky, shame eternal. Sandusky to Wonderland with Alice, to face the Queen of Hearts.
Image, or substance: when brass trumps integrity, and greed, honor; and power is handed to the noisiest, the brashest. Do societies actually choose political leaders based on rhetorical bluster? Rhetoric is not real. Rhetoric is hot air, signifies neither skill, nor competence, nor truthfulness, nor knowledge, nor honor, nor trustworthiness, nor a sense of justice, nor good judgment, nor personal character, nor leadership ability. One would not choose a rhetorician for one’s dentist, or to replace a heart valve, or to build one a house, or to paint one’s portrait, or to replace one’s roof, or to repair a leaky toilet, or to fix one’s car, or to rewire one’s house, or to command a warship, or to bake a chocolate cake, or to lead a platoon of troops, or to babysit one's child. The political leader has the power of life and death over the nation’s youth. Why under heaven choose a gasbag to lead the nation in the way of justice and peace.  
Order of the White Feather First Class for Criminal Incompetence is awarded to Captain Francesco Schettino. Order Second Class is awarded to the cruise ship operator and owner for their public silence in response to the disaster. Among other innocents, someone's five year old daughter, and a honeymooner who could not swim are dead because of criminal incompetence, while the order of the day at Costa and Carnival is CYA silence. Shame. Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame.
String of incidents of Afghan soldiers turning weapons on allied troops is officially termed -- “Isolated.” Four unarmed French soldiers murdered and many wounded, Karzai “saddened,” sends condolences, Sarkozy “livid,” weighing early withdrawal. Is Obama “livid,” weighing early withdrawal? Why not? We have sufficiently “punished” Afghanistan for 9/11; after ten years it should be clear that we cannot establish American democracy in a Black Hole.
In time, society may become wise, elect grandmothers, philosophers and gardeners to leadership, and send only politicians, rhetoricians and old men to war. One term in Congress, and off to the Front you go.
When will society become wise? 
A man was sentenced to death. He told the king that if his execution were stayed for one year he could teach the king’s horse to talk. The king granted him the year. The man’s friend asked him if he was crazy. The man said, “In a year the king may die. Or I may die. Or the horse may talk.”
And society may become wise.
TW

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1951 Cadillac

A friend sent me a connection to a YouTube video “Parking a 1951 Cadillac.” Maybe the link will open:
A California inventor rigged the spare tire to lower from the car’s trunk (boot) and roll the rear end of the car in and out to maneuver into close spaces. The video is nostalgic, a period newsreel, with other 1950s cars on the street and the “perfect voice” of the trained newscaster of that era. More than that though is the car itself, and the nostalgia it stirred in me for those days.
During my Bay High years there was a used car dealer directly across from the school, northwest corner Harrison Avenue and 12th Street. For some weeks during 1952, it would have been my junior or senior year, there was a yellow 1951 Cadillac Series 62 sedan sitting there for sale, yellow with a black top. It was perfect, practically zero miles, and it’s my second memory of a car that I lusted after to the point of obsession, checking it out every afternoon as I left school to walk home. 
It was this model
but this color.
And yes, Bubba knows the differences in a 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953 year model. We actually had a car of that model, a 1952 Cadillac Series 62 sedan that we bought from an Air Force officer while we lived in Japan in 1965. It was beautiful. Two-tone blue, and I paid $100 for it.

One must be a certified car nut to understand that sort of lust. In my seventy-six years there were only half a dozen or so. One of these mornings, maybe a blog posting will list and picture all of them at once. 

Nothing holy about this posting, so no + today, it's just me.

Tom


Saturday, January 21, 2012

SPEAK UP!

SPEAK UP!

OK, maybe this is a diary after all. Went to sleep too early, so rose way too early, for two or three hours reading. Kristen is taking Intro to Ethics, book list includes Plato’s Gorgias. Seeing it’s free on Kindle and liking to read her course material, I read it in Saturday wee hours. 
Yesterday a letter came from a friend of nearly six decades who also became a priest after a career of other things. Long years ago, just out of university, I told him I was intending seminary at some point. He said he didn’t think I should do it. Hearing that negatively about myself, I backed away from it for a quarter century. 
Years later during a visit in Apalachicola, I reminded him of the conversation. He was stunned that it had been my reason for denying the vocation until my forties, said I had heard him wrong. Long-closed in my mind but not his, every time we’ve met he’s mentioned it, and in his letter yesterday he enclosed an old plaque  
That conversation some fifty-five years ago set the course of my life. Had we not had it, things today would be different for me, likely different children and grandchildren because of different things happening at different times, and I would not risk such a change for the world, would not change one second of my life to save it. Can a misunderstanding be a blessing in waiting, even the Word of God?
It all came round in my wee hours reading this morning as Callicles and Socrates argued and virtually the exact same words of the plaque kept showing up in their dialogue.
Worse, it showed up again in today’s comics.

It’s the Epiphany Season, is somebody saying something to someone? Speak up, can't hear you.
TW+  

St Andrew Bay from my upstairs front porch a moment ago.



Friday, January 20, 2012

Books

Something about me has always liked having two or three books or other readings going at any one time. It’s like having more than one work project (which certainly was always common not only as a parish priest in my experience, but also as naval officer, consultant, adjunct college professor!) or several hobbies: cars, astronomy, other things at various times in life. 
Linda recently put me onto Karen Armstrong’s book The Bible - A Biography. The first chapter is so fascinating that I’ve read it three times including the third time in bed earlier this morning, together with re-reading Second Kings along with it, about the good kings Hezekiah and Josiah, and haven’t moved on beyond, though today into chapter two for sure. The New Yorker magazines that Joe brought at Christmas are a treasure for relaxation and enjoyment. Walking thirty to forty minutes on the treadmill every morning requires distraction, so Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is propped on the bookrack, the Kindle, into about chapter 24, where Pip is under the tutelage of Mr. Pocket and friends with Herbert. Seemed as if Little Dorrit would never end, but it played out after seventy chapters on the treadmill rack. GE is more singular and focused than LD
Another thing at the moment is Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo, never read in seminary but now also on the NordiTrak bookrack, English text online with the font hugely enlarged, and nearly through it. Should have saved CDH for Lenten discipline. 
Rereading the Apocrypha and studying about it for Tuesday Morning Bible Seminar and for Sunday School during Epiphany. Those fourteen/fifteen books are all interesting, worth reading, and some of them we’ll read together in class and discuss.
Finally, for both classes reading Mark’s gospel yet one more time again. My favorite gospel. Why? First, oldest, least embellished, fascinating agenda.
TW+

Thursday, January 19, 2012

חָסֶד

חָסֶד

Psalm 62  Nonne Deo?


1
For God alone my soul in silence waits; *
    from him comes my salvation.


2
He alone is my rock and my salvation, *
    my stronghold, so that I shall not be greatly shaken.


3
How long will you assail me to crush me,
all of you together, *
    as if you were a leaning fence, a toppling wall?


4
They seek only to bring me down from my place of honor; *
    lies are their chief delight.


5
They bless with their lips, *
    but in their hearts they curse.


6
For God alone my soul in silence waits; *
    truly, my hope is in him.


7
He alone is my rock and my salvation, *
    my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken.


8
In God is my safety and my honor; *
    God is my strong rock and my refuge.


9
Put your trust in him always, O people, *
    pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge.

10
Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath, *
    even those of low estate cannot be trusted.


11
On the scales they are lighter than a breath, *
    all of them together.


12
Put no trust in extortion;
in robbery take no empty pride; *
    though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.


13
God has spoken once, twice have I heard it, *
    that power belongs to God.


14
Steadfast love is yours, O Lord, *
    for you repay everyone according to his deeds.
King David had worship leaders with musical groups who wrote sacred songs, likely composed the music, and sang them in worship. One such was Jeduthun, whose name is on Psalms 39, 62 and 77.
Psalm 62 is appointed for Sunday, January 22. It’s “a psalm of David,” but that does not mean romantically that David the Shepherd Boy composed it while he was all alone tending his father’s sheep out in the fields, nor that David sang it soothingly to King Saul while strumming on his harp to calm Saul’s troubled mind. Rather, David on the throne is being troubled by his enemies, and the psalm proclaims David's trust in God for his wellbeing, his strength, his salvation.
Liturgically, we’ll chant or read the psalm after the Old Testament lesson, but it will be sheer rote, we’ll pay no mind whatsoever to what we are saying. What a shame. But Epiphany is an apt season to notice. To mind. This is a psalm of faith, powerful, beautiful and encouraging. "Enemies" take various forms, not only human enemies, but grief, despair, illness, hopelessness, loneliness, poverty, fear, loss... In the face of life’s troubles, God is our stronghold, our rock, our refuge, our salvation. Two of my own favorite things about the psalm are verse 13, which begins and ends with God, both in the Hebrew and in our English translation; and in verse 14 is my favorite Hebrew word, chesed -- which is lovingkindness. 
About verse 13. God speaks once and I get two things out of it. The first is explicit: the words about God’s strength for me when I need God. That’s encouragement, assurance. The second is tacit: the realization that God loves me enough to speak to me in the first place. That’s epiphany: chesed -- lovingkindness.
TW+