on Psalm 119:1-3
by the Rev Wanda Copeland
When I lived in Evanston, Illinois, early morning walks along
Lake Superior revealed a variety of people-walkers with pets,
runners determined to push another mile, the stray commuter or
two, and maybe a senior just glad to be able to be out. If I was
able to get out really early, I encountered a different crowd.
There were some who were on the beach in white robes awaiting
the dawn. As the sun arose, they were chanting and gesturing with
their whole body. As I met others who were also watching them,
we exchanged smiles.
However, I need to be reminded that they are, with their whole
body and lives, honoring God. Even if for that moment, they are
walking in the way of the LORD as they understand God to be. They
are expressing their commitment, their joy, their faithfulness
to God in their early-morning ritual.
As the youth of the 60s used to say, "Talk is cheap."
It is easy to proclaim that we are committed to environmental
change, but it is more challenging to live that out in our lives.
To proclaim with our lives, our bodies and all our actions, that
we are committed to being change agents for protection of the
earth can be quite confrontational.
Steps toward that movement in our lives begin with the gritty
courage to step outside of the march of the majority way of being
and doing. We totter like babies in their first steps. We flop
around, and as often step backward as forward. Then we more confidently
make occasional public professions-like attending a rally in support
of wilderness. In this stage, we seldom march alone, feeling more
confident in small groups (like teenage boys or girls at a dance).
As we mature in our witness, we next get to the stage where we
actually raise our hand and take responsibility for one action.
As a student confident to venture an answer of which we are unsure,
we gingerly proffer our reputation and ego to the whims of others.
In that giving of ourselves, we risk much; but our reward is great.
We gain the confidence that we can step into a much larger arena
the next time. Finally, we are like the Druids on the beach, following
the calling of our hearts, and oblivious to the stares and knowing
smiles of stranger.
I would argue that is when we are truly "walking in his ways".
We have abandoned our fears, we have moved beyond our own hesitation,
and fully embraced our need to do what we see as following God's
call. That is a joy that the world cannot bring.
"And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives" (BCP, p.