“There is sprung up a light for the righteous, and joyful gladness for such as are true-hearted.” (Psalm 97:11)
I love that rendering of the very end of Psalm 97:11 in Miles Coverdale’s Psalter. Where other translations say “upright in heart” (NIV, ESV, RSV, NRSV, KJV), “true-hearted” points me in a slightly different direction. To be “upright in heart” means I choose God’s high road of righteousness and obedience. This is the right thing, but it can sound a little stilted or as if one is up on their high horse, if approached in the wrong spirit.
But “true-hearted” feels like a characteristic one would desire in the best of friends or colleagues. This is someone who does what is right because their heart is true. Their heart is aligned with righteousness. The are inside to outside the right and true kind of person
May You, Lord, make of me one who is true-hearted in Your ways and for Your glory.
Join in with the Eastbrook 365 daily devotional for this series here.
We also continue in-person services at 8:00, 9:30, and 11:00 AM this weekend at the Eastbrook Campus, and you no longer need to RSVP ahead of time.
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“The Weekend Wanderer” is a weekly curated selection of news, stories, resources, and media on the intersection of faith and culture for you to explore through your weekend. Wander through these links however you like and in any order you like. Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed within the articles linked from this page, but I have read them myself in order to make me think more deeply.
“Congress approves bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday” – Kevin Freking at APNews: “The United States will soon have a new federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery. The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to make Juneteenth, or June 19th, the 12th federal holiday. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk, and he is expected to sign it into law. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.”
“Scotland’s ‘cradle of Christianity’ on Iona is saved by small mercies” – Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian: “A Christian community on a tiny Hebridean island which for centuries has attracted pilgrims from all over the world will reopen on Monday after a mammoth campaign raised £3.75m to save it from closure. The Iona community, centred on a Benedictine abbey in whose grounds John Smith, the late Labour leader, is buried, has spent the past three years making its buildings fit for the 21st century. The upgrade includes the installation of a renewable energy system and connection to superfast broadband. Princess Anne, patron of the appeal, will visit the island for a blessing ceremony, and thousands of people are expected to join in online celebrations of the successful appeal for the work.”
“Supreme Court rules in favor of Catholic foster-care agency, handing another win to religious rights” – Yonat Shimron at Religion NewsService: “A federally funded foster and adoption agency that opposes same-sex marriage on religious grounds can be exempted from serving such couples, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday (June 17). In a unanimous ruling, the justices once again showed they were receptive to claims by religious groups, in this case, Catholic Social Services, which refuses to work with same-sex couples. The agency contracts with the city of Philadelphia to screen potential foster parents. Beginning in 2018, the city of Philadelphia asked that all contractors follow the city’s anti-discrimination policies. Catholic Social Services along with two Catholic foster care parents — one named Sharonell Fulton — sued the city, claiming the free exercise clause in the First Amendment gives it the right to opt out of the nondiscrimination requirement. After a lower court and a federal circuit court ruled in the city’s favor, CSS appealed to the Supreme Court. The opinion, by Chief Justice John Roberts, reversed the circuit court ruling.”
“Chart: A Global Look at How People Spend Their Time” – Iman Ghosh at Visual Capitalist: “We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but we don’t spend them the same way. Some prioritize family time or household chores, while others cherish a good night’s sleep or seeing friends. This chart from Our World in Data compares the average time allocated across various day-to-day activities, from paid work to leisurely activities. The data for the 33 countries profiled come from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Time Use database, for ages 15 through 64 years old.”
“Southern Baptists Elect Ed Litton as New President” – Kate Shellnutt in Christianity Today: “Pastor Ed Litton, championed by supporters as a force for gospel unity and racial reconciliation, was elected the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), overtaking the candidate backed by a passionate faction of conservatives. Litton’s election is seen as a signal of the direction of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, where infighting has broken out over approaches to race, abuse, and other issues while the Conservative Baptist Network raises alarms about liberal drift and “woke” theology. The close race also reveals how much ground the vocal group has come to hold in the SBC within a year and a half of its founding. ‘This vote … shows we desire a leader whose character, humility, and voice for unity represents us a whole over those who call for division,’ said Jacki King, who serves on the steering committee for the SBC Women’s Leadership Network.”
“Behold the Mandalorian: Meekness and Masculinity in Star Wars” – Josh Seligman in Plough: “Can masculinity be good? This is the question with which priest Noah Van Niel subtitles his recent article in Plough. I find an unexpected angle on this question in two father–son relationships in the Star Wars saga that illustrate meekness as a healthy model for manhood. Meekness is at the heart of The Mandalorian, the newest live-action Star Wars television series (spoilers ahead). The story follows Din Djarin, a bounty hunter hired to capture a child with mysterious powers. However, upon encountering “the Child” (whose real name is Grogu, although some viewers call him “Baby Yoda”), Djarin immediately bonds with him. When he realizes that his employers wish to harm Grogu, Djarin risks his security and life to protect the Child. Eventually, he receives instructions from a mentor to deliver Grogu to safety among the Jedi. In the course of completing this task, Djarin reluctantly transforms into a single father. The show depicts the daily grind of Djarin providing for Grogu, entrusting him to others’ care while earning their provisions, or establishing boundaries, as when he stops Grogu from naughtily eating the eggs of alien creatures.”
Music: Nina Simone, “Feeling Good,” from I Put a Spell on You.
I’ve enjoyed posting poetry series themed around the Christian year in the past couple of years (see “Poetry for Lent” and “Poetry for Easter“). I will continue that with a series called “Poetry for Ordinary Time.” Ordinary time includes two sections of the church year between Christmastide and Lent and Easter and Advent. The word “ordinary” here derives from the word ordinal by which the weeks are counted. Still, ordinary time does serve an opportunity to embrace the ordinary spaces and places of our lives, and the themes of the poems will express this.
Here is James Weldon Johnson’s poem “The Creation” from God’s Trombones. Johnson was a twentieth century American poet and civil rights activist, perhaps best known for co-authoring (with his brother) the well-known song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the black national anthem.
And God stepped out on space, And he looked around and said: I’m lonely— I’ll make me a world.
And far as the eye of God could see Darkness covered everything, Blacker than a hundred midnights Down in a cypress swamp.
Then God smiled, And the light broke, And the darkness rolled up on one side, And the light stood shining on the other, And God said: That’s good!
Then God reached out and took the light in his hands, And God rolled the light around in his hands Until he made the sun; And he set that sun a-blazing in the heavens. And the light that was left from making the sun God gathered it up in a shining ball And flung it against the darkness, Spangling the night with the moon and stars. Then down between The darkness and the light He hurled the world; And God said: That’s good!
Then God himself stepped down— And the sun was on his right hand, And the moon was on his left; The stars were clustered about his head, And the earth was under his feet. And God walked, and where he trod His footsteps hollowed the valleys out And bulged the mountains up.
Then he stopped and looked and saw That the earth was hot and barren. So God stepped over to the edge of the world And he spat out the seven seas— He batted his eyes, and the lightnings flashed— He clapped his hands, and the thunders rolled— And the waters above the earth came down, The cooling waters came down.
Then the green grass sprouted, And the little red flowers blossomed, The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky, And the oak spread out his arms, The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground, And the rivers ran down to the sea; And God smiled again, And the rainbow appeared, And curled itself around his shoulder.
Then God raised his arm and he waved his hand Over the sea and over the land, And he said: Bring forth! Bring forth! And quicker than God could drop his hand, Fishes and fowls And beasts and birds Swam the rivers and the seas, Roamed the forests and the woods, And split the air with their wings. And God said: That’s good!
Then God walked around, And God looked around On all that he had made. He looked at his sun, And he looked at his moon, And he looked at his little stars; He looked on his world With all its living things, And God said: I’m lonely still.
Then God sat down— On the side of a hill where he could think; By a deep, wide river he sat down; With his head in his hands, God thought and thought, Till he thought: I’ll make me a man!
Up from the bed of the river God scooped the clay; And by the bank of the river He kneeled him down; And there the great God Almighty Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky, Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night, Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand; This great God, Like a mammy bending over her baby, Kneeled down in the dust Toiling over a lump of clay Till he shaped it in is his own image;
Then into it he blew the breath of life, And man became a living soul. Amen. Amen.