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Daily Devotional • May 23

Emily Hylden
Surrounding Visions
A Reading from Psalm 97

1    The LORD is King;
let the earth rejoice; *
    let the multitude of the isles be glad.
2    Clouds and darkness are round about him, *
    righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne.

3    A fire goes before him *
    and burns up his enemies on every side.
4    His lightnings light up the world; *
    the earth sees it and is afraid.
5    The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, *
    at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6    The heavens declare his righteousness, *
    and all the peoples see his glory.
7    Confounded be all who worship carved images
and delight in false gods! *
    Bow down before him, all you gods.
8    Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice, *
    because of your judgments, O LORD.
9    For you are the LORD,
most high over all the earth; *
    you are exalted far above all gods.
10    The LORD loves those who hate evil; *
    he preserves the lives of his saints
    and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11    Light has sprung up for the righteous, *
    and joyful gladness for those who are truehearted.
12    Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, *
    and give thanks to his holy Name.

I can get so easily distracted from God, not only by the phones and electronics that beep and flash for my attention, or even by the to do lists and daily demands of a household, but I have noticed, and this psalm highlights, that I easily ignore the signs all around me. 

I’m grateful that we now live in a less-built-up area of the country (having moved from Dallas in 2021), that fields and water and lightning feel bigger than in the midst of a city. I wonder whether that’s part of the curse of Babel — the illusion that we humans have built up something and made something which allows us to not depend on God. And how might we be affected by looking at and living in and contending with all these man-made powers all day every day? 

The mountains declare the power of God, clouds and darkness surround him — the terrifying forces of nature keep us in our place as creatures, as dependents always. This is a truth, but one which we have become good at ignoring! I wonder how farmers, or people who reside in the mountains, or those whose houses are full of windows to the wilds of nature, might perceive God differently in their daily lives and in every moment, how they may be formed by the visions that surround them. 

How might you be formed by the visions that surround you?

The Rev. Emily R. Hylden resides with her priest husband and three sons in Lafayette, Louisiana. Find her podcasting at Emily Rose Meditations.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Taiwan – The Episcopal Church
St. John’s Church, Savannah, Georgia
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