10 March 2010
Do It Now
Moses, who didn't write any other psalm that we know of, wrote Psalm 90 and may have been burying someone at the time. In light of the tentative and terminal nature of humanity, Moses asked God to 'teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.' Seeing the end of days was a motivator to Moses to learn how to spend our current days.
Maybe it's morbid; maybe it's artistic, but I like to visit cemeteries. You can find many of my visits in my Flickr set called "Cemeteries and Synagogues and Churches" http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobmendo/sets/72157594315892381/
And last weekend in Kansas City, I visited the cemetery where my mother and father are buried. The synagogue Kehilath Israel bought that block of land 100 years ago for congregants who passed,and it's fairly well maintained. Sure, there's a lot of history and information for families in trying to find their roots. But beyond that, what else is going on?
Moses says in the psalm that we might live 70 or 80 years, but that we are all terminal. And maybe Mr Gilgus had it right, if they are quoting him. "Do it now!" Let's not wait to do the right thing; we might not be here tomorrow to do it. See, that might sound morbid, and if you hear it that way, I'm sorry. I hear it as a motivator, not out of fear, but out of the reality that all things end.
Fear or worse, terror, are not the response God wants for us. He wants us to appreciate the days we have, and use them to the full. Seize the day? Ok, that one works, too. Just do it, ok, that works also.
Our days are finished like a sigh.
Was Dylan Thomas right? "Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day"
Use your days and nights to make life happen, in you and in others. You don't have a promise of tomorrow. But today? What is the 'right' thing you are supposed to do. What did you always want to do, but were postponing it. Do it now!
90.0 ¶ A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 ¶ Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born, Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.
3 ¶ Thou dost turn man back into dust, And dost say, “Return, O children of men.”
4 For a thousand years in Thy sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night.
5 Thou hast swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
6 In the morning it flourishes, and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades, and withers away.
7 ¶ For we have been consumed by Thine anger, And by Thy wrath we have been dismayed.
8 Thou hast placed our iniquities before Thee, Our secret sins in the light of Thy presence.
9 For all our days have declined in Thy fury; We have finished our years like a sigh.
10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away.
11 Who understands the power of Thine anger, And Thy fury, according to the fear that is due Thee?
12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.
13 ¶ Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Thy servants.
14 O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days Thou hast afflicted us, And the years we have seen evil.
16 Let Thy work appear to Thy servants, And Thy majesty to their children.
17 And let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And do confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.