The task seemed daunting, even overwhelming. Against a wall in my garage were fourteen moving boxes filled with pictures. Some were in frames and others in photo albums, but the vast majority were unsorted. I thought I knew what awaited me, since I knew my mom kept every photo she ever touched. There were the predictable shots spanning the childhood of me and my three siblings. However, I could not have imagined what else awaited me. I was surprised to discover photos that spanned at least six generations.
The vivid colors of recent photos gave way to the black and white of previous eras. The pictures traced my mother’s family back to the hills outside of Chattanooga. They depict a simple life on a small family farm that struggled to meet daily family needs. These photos invited me to gaze in on significant family moments that shaped those in photos, and by extension, me. As I perused I was drawn to the reality that a faith spanning the generations was interwoven in our family story.
Psalm 100 is titled, A Psalm of Thanksgiving. It is the only Psalm that carries this title. As I wandered through the pictures I could not help but think about this great psalm. It reads; Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This has always been one of my favorite psalms. It begins with the grand invitation into the presence of God. We come with songs and shouts of joy celebrating all that God shaped and made us – that through faith we belong to God. The psalm welcomes us to a heart of thanksgiving. Then, summons us to remember God’s faithfulness across our stories and across the generations.
It is easy to get so caught up in the doing of the day, in the living of our lives, that we can miss God’s work. When Jesus commissioned the 72 disciples to go out into the villages and across the countryside he told them; “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:23-24) Jesus wanted them to see that they were witnesses to the great work of God on display. We too are invited to have eyes to see that God is still at work doing remarkable things. God’s faithfulness is on display in our lives and across the generations.
A quick word – For the next two Wednesdays we will look at the Lord’s Prayer. Come and join us.
Grace and Peace, Tom Ogburn