When I was in high school youth group, we often participated in a Bible activity that seemed (to me at least) rather magical. With our Bibles in hand, the youth pastor instructed us to close our eyes and think of something on which we needed guidance. A situation, a relationship, a concern. While we sat quietly holding our thoughts, eyes still closed, we were told to open our Bibles at random and read the first verse that caught our attention. We were encouraged to consider how this verse might guide us in our 'situation of the day.'
Looking back, I'm sure the pastor was mostly trying to get us to actually open the Bible and read it, maybe even to see that God’s word was living and relevant to our teenage lives. The mystery to us, however, was that those spontaneous words we found with our eyes closed often DID speak to us. Sometimes they made us laugh, or feel oddly seen and understood - but always that activity drew us nearer to scripture and to one another. We didn’t choose those verses, they chose us...or so it seemed.
I have revisited that activity from time to time throughout my life, most recently with The Psalms. Often I find myself led to this activity when I am at a loss for words and humbly praying for the Word to find me. The right word. For today.
In this Spirit, these verses from Psalm 51 have found me in this moment and I share them with you.
"O Gracious One, open my lips and my mouth shall sing forth Your praise.
For You do not want sacrifice. You delight in our friendship with You.
A sacrifice most appropriate is a humble spirit, a repentant and contrite heart, O Merciful One, receive our gratitude and love...
O Blessed and Compassionate Friend,
melt our hearts of stone,
break through the fears that lead us into darkness, and
guide our steps toward the way of peace."