Winthrop Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
No matter who you are. No matter where you are on life's journey. You are welcome here.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 The Inescapable God
O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.
Sometimes, when I read books in the Bible, they remind me of other books I’ve read or stories I’ve heard. As I was thinking about the Psalm, where the person singing the song feels known and loved by God all the time, I remember the children’s book The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. Who here has ever read that book? Do you remember what it’s about? Well, I’m going to read it right now to remind everyone:
Does anyone have any guesses about why I was reminded of this book when I read Psalm 139? Let’s talk about the momma bunny. Do you think she loves her baby bunny? Yes. How do you know? What does she do to show her love? She promises to be with the little bunny in all ways. Why do you think the little bunny wanted to run away? Isn’t nice that his mom said that he would always have a home with her? She would be his tree if he was a bird or the wind that would help him move if he was a sailboat. She would even do scary things with him, learning to walk a tight rope while he swung on the trapeze. I also like that, even though he thought he might need to run away, he realized that his mom loved him a lot and would make sure he was safe and always had a good place to be and that she would help him do hard things, he decided that he could stay. And, then they had a snack. That’s a good story!
Now, let’s remember what God is like in Psalm 139. I think Psalm 139 is like if Little Bunny wrong a song about God. The person in the Psalm says that God has search them and knows them. It’s like the Momma Bunny knows Little Bunny. God in this Psalm definitely knows the speaker well enough to become a fisherman if they’re a fish or a gardener if they’re a plant. God knows the speaker well enough to know where they might hide or be ready to follow them up a mountain. When the speaker gets to the end, God is still there, just like Momma Bunny at the end of the book, ready to give the little bunny a carrot.
There’s even a part of the Psalm that we didn’t read today that sounds a lot like the bunnies. Verses 7-12 say:
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
There are a lot of good things in the parts of Psalm 139 that we read today. But, the thing I think is most important today, is to remember that God is always with us, even when we are mad enough to run away or feel like we need to hide. God made us. The scripture says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” The speaker knows that every part of them is beloved by God and made by God. I hope that if you are feeling worried or scared or lonesome, you remember that part especially. God made you and you are wonderful. So, no need to run off or feel like you have to go away. You can stay with God and God will stay with you, just like Momma Bunny and Little Bunny. And that really is some good news.
Resources consulted while preparing this sermon:
Pastor Chrissy is a native of East Tennessee. She and her wife moved to Maine from Illinois. She is a graduate of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University and Chicago Theological Seminary.