Shout for Joy! {Summer of Psalms}

Happy Monday morning to you! Last week, I sent you Cari Donaldson's way for the first of the Summer of Psalms posts. This week, it's my turn. Kristin has reached out to bloggers hither and yon and asked if they'd like to choose a psalm to share, each of us taking a turn on Monday throughout the summer. So, you get to read us pondering the psalms. But, wait, there's more!

Every week, Kristin will offer her original artwork to take away, print, frame, turn into a screensaver--enjoy! This week's art is truly something I will treasure. By the way, as I frame this one, it occurs to me that I may have framed more of Kristin's art now than I framed Michael's. And I framed a good bit of Michael's. I can't wait to see what this one creates;-). 


So, here's some art for you to have. Print it. Frame it. Share it. The Summer of Psalms Project is an effort to brighten cyberspace and give glory to God this summer through the sharing of inspired art and heartfelt thoughts and prayers. you can follow along by checking in with Kristin for a list (and I'll remind you here) as we add to the collection throughout the summer. Every week, there will be new, free, and encouraging artwork. What will you do with it? Whatever you do, share. Take a picture of how the psalms are coming to life in your spaces this summer and share it using the hashtag #summerofpsalmsproject -- let everyone shout for joy with us! 

Download Printable PDF of Psalm 65 Art

Upon first reading, this is a harvest song, plain and simple. But a little digging around, and we can understand it as an Easter song. The early Christians sang this psalm at liturgies celebrating the Resurrection. It's a beautiful praise of God's handiwork and, to me, it's an overflowing from the abundance of a grateful heart.

Clearly, all manners of praise are due to God and yet,  as I contemplate the majesty and goodness of God, I have no words at first to express His overwhelming amazingness. Those prayers of praise will be uttered, but only after I my breath is taken away by the majesty of it all. When I first read this psalm, I thought about how closely tied my family's celebration of Easter is with our time in the bluebells every year. It just happens that way--we celebrate the Resurrection in the context of glorious, bursting Virginia springtime. And every year, I walk the path in to the creek's edge. Tiny white fairy spuds line the trail, little wisps of green on the tress give a hint of rich fullness that is still to come within the next few weeks. And then, just as we near the water's edge, wave after wave of delicate blue flowers cover the forest floor. And every year, I stand there, silent, and inhale in awed wonder. 


The God who attends so carefully to the tiniest detail, the faintest blush of pink on a flower that will be blue in its fullness, is the God who hears me when the words finally come. He reveals Himself, kind and merciful, ready to answer the prayers of the children of His creation who come to Him through His Son. Pretty heady stuff.

Against the backdrop of His stunning artistry, we are so aware of our sins, of the fact that we aren't even close to worthy. But God chooses us. He brings us into communion with Him and He reveals Himself to us in the great outdoors that is both the glorious canvas of His artistry and the provision of His hands. And beyond the here and now, He has even greater riches awaiting us in heaven. 

The God strong enough to uphold the mountains? He's got this. Whatever "this" is in my life or the lives of the people I love, He's got it. My world storms around me, and oceans roar in my ears in the middle of the night; He speaks calm. He silences the Tormenter. 

 Photo credit: Karoline, who loves to run after and capture sunsets with me.

Photo credit: Karoline, who loves to run after and capture sunsets with me.

I have learned to be a collector of both sunrises and sunsets. I seek them out. I capture them with a camera. I go out of my way to find them. They call to me. It is impossible for me to look at a canvas in the sky in the morning or the evening and not know the Artist who painted it. So I keep looking. The gateway into daytime is a moment to ask for His strength and His grace and clarity of His purpose for me. The gateway of the evening is a time to give thanks and to entrust my cares to Him. 

So many gifts! So many reasons to go outside and shout for joy! And every good and perfect gift is from above. He did it all. These are the works of God. And that river overflowing? It is the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on world even today, so far removed the time of the psalmist and from the time of Christ. God is still with us. He's here, softening the edges with showers of grace.

As much as I see His glory in creation, how much can His glory be in me? Can it overflow? All those places in this great world where the beauty and majesty trumpet His glory and make me want to sing for joy? He considers me His greatest creation.

Think on that a moment. Me. You. We are the greatest works of His hands. And as much as that field of flowers makes my heart leap every spring, I  make His heart leap. 

For joy.

Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty
To the leader. A Psalm of David. A Song.

1 Praise is due to you,
O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
2 O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
3 When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
you forgive our transgressions.
4 Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
your holy temple.
5 By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
6 By your[a] strength you established the mountains;
you are girded with might.
7 You silence the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
8 Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
9 You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.
— Psalm 65