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June 02, 2014

 Today’s meditation centers on the 16th verse of Psalm 139.

We Louisiana Methodists are preparing for Annual Conference and our Bishop Cynthia Harvey has asked us to study Psalm 139.

For me, this has meant tackling one verse, each day, in the days leading up to Conference.

Here’s the 16th verse:

You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

Earlier in this series, I quickly pointed out that some theology is way beyond my pay grade.
 
This verse creeps into pre-destination, an area that not only exceeds my pay grade but flies past my intellectual understanding.
 
To be honest, at times, it’s fun to argue about concepts such as “unconditional election” and “limited atonement” but in the end, I just walk away with my head hurting.
 
Instead, as I read this verse, I focus on what the psalmist is singing praises for – God writing my story before I am even born.
 
It reminds me of a sermon from my pastor Rev. Katie McKay Simpson where she shared a powerful story from Ben Zander’s book, The Art of Possibility.
 
Zander recounts his days as an orchestral professor, specifically one semester where he decided to give his students an A – on the first day.
 
GradeA
 
He looked across the room and told all of his students that, to earn that A on the first day, they had to do just one thing - write Zander a letter explaining why the A will be deserved at the end of the semester.
 
Zander said the exercise changed the entire ethos of the class,  resulting in a more positive attitude from the students as they would live into their A, as opposed to trying to earn it.
 
As Rev. Simpson shared that story, she asked us:
What would it be like in our lives if God was promising that we would get the A in life? What would our letter to God look like? What would we tell God about who we are – that we are valued enough – that our life was intense enough to be able to justify an A?
As I reflect on the 16th verse, I imagine God writing my story in His book and handing out an A before the class even begins.
It’s not an orchestral music class, or a class in pre-destination, it’s a class in love.
 
And there are just two lessons:
  • Love God with my entire soul
  • Love my neighbor the same
God saw me in the womb and He saw me as a straight A student.
 
While there are times when I wonder what He sees in me as I murmur in class, chew gum, horse around with my friends, daydream and distract myself, I hear
 
His voice…
 
Gently whispering to me…lovingly reminding me that, with Him, all things are possible, including that A+