Reviewing the main stories

(This was first published October 11, 2011. We got called out of town Thursday afternoon, so I’m reposting. I’ll finish the Philip story next week.)

I’m finding, as I age and as I multi-task and multi-think and multi-network, that I remember less and less. This is a pain.

Sometimes, of course, it’s not critical to my work. For example, I forgot where Argentina was until I made a graphic for my boss. Who will be in Argentina next week. But it’s okay to not always know where it is.

However, it IS a problem when I want to remember things that are central, people that are important, stories that guide. So I try to make reviewing simple.

I’m guessing that’s what happened with whatever lyricist wrote Psalm 114.

There were stories core to the people of Israel: Egypt, Red Sea, Jordan River, water from a rock, Jericho. These stories take up four of the first five books of the Bible. They are rich and complex.

And the writer captures them in 97 words:

When Israel came out of Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;
the mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.

Why was it, O sea, that you fled,
O Jordan, that you turned back,
you mountains, that you skipped like rams,
you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water.

It covers who God is, who Israel is, and even a repeated review of the parting of the waters. There’s even the playful poetic imagery.

This weekend, take a few moments and list the points where your story and God’s intersect. A simple short list. And then write a short summary.

And sing it regularly. Like Psalm 114.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.