Psalm 92 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 62

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,

and spread abroad like the cedar of Lebanon.

Those who are planted in the house of the Lord 

shall flourish in the courts of our God;

they shall still bear fruit in old age,

they shall be green and succulent;

that they may show how upright the Lord is,

my rock, in whom there is no injustice.”  Psalm 92: 12-15

I know the psalmist is talking about tall cedar trees of Lebanon, but this verse reminds me of the plant in the photo above commonly called running cedar, or in southwest Virginia, where this was taken, “bear’s paw.”  It spreads by way of underground runners along the forest floor.  It grows in dense colonies and appears like a vivid green, cushioning carpet, an inviting place to lie down for a hiking break.  Apparently at one time in certain areas running cedar became harder to find because it was sought out for use with Christmas greens or people’s gardens—even though it doesn’t transplant well. But now it is flourishing, particularly in the Appalachian mountains.  Many of you have likely seen it.

When we as God’s people are healthy, we are spreading out with the good news of Christ by what we say and how we serve our neighbor.  But we do flourish and find strength in faith communities where people gather to worship, celebrating God’s presence in word and baptism and meal.  Our older ones are just as valued as our younger–in fact, they have much to offer from their gathered wisdom.   One of the things that makes me sad, however, is when an elder in  a faith community feels they are worthless because they can no longer do the same things for others that they use to do.  It is a difficult transition for many to find how in old age they are still “green and succulent,” vital to the well being of all and to the spreading of Christ’s love.

If you consider yourself “older,” how have you found new ways to flourish and serve in your faith community?  If you consider yourself “younger,” who is an older person whose faith and service you look up to and whom you can encourage today? “They still bear fruit in old age,” but it helps to have a little encouragement.

Suggestions:

1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder? No matter what age you are, encourage an older person of faith today.

2. Or read all of Psalm 92 to discover how this verse fits into this psalm.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this verse’s meaning for you.

Tomorrow’s psalm  will be Psalm 93:3-4.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at http://elainedent.net or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.