Psalm 139 Comes to Life by: Rev. Clint Jones

In 2008, I traveled with a group of youth on my first choir/mission tour. The youth from First Broad Street United Methodist Church in Kingsport, Tennessee, went to sing at churches and do construction work in Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla, Mexico. Through their music, these young people introduced me to a passage of scripture that I didn’t know. Again and again I found my heart stirred when they would suddenly burst into singing “Wings of the Dawn” composed by Linda A. Spencer.

On June 2, 2016, I found myself sitting at the western end of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona between Hermit’s Rest and Pima Point at sunset. I had found a spot close enough to the edge that I could sit calmly despite my healthy fear of heights. Sprawled before my wife Marilyn and me was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. It was one of those surreal moments when one knows God is speaking through God’s creation. The rocks were alive with color that rapidly changed. Then the scene came to life as four California condors launched into the air and soared over the canyon. These majestic birds helped me then catch a glimpse of the Colorado River, which looked like glass in the setting sun. The river was so far away in the depths of the abyss. One of the condors then soared into the gleaming sunset at the rim. It brought to view the distant vista of mountains rising up from the earth. Then the tune and words of the song came flooding in.

“Wings of the Dawn”
composed by Linda A. Spencer.
(Performance by MS Baptist All-State Youth Choir & Orchestra 2004
https://youtu.be/h5LuDm0vHLQ )
O Lord, you have searched me and known me;
You know when I sit and when I rise.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I go from Your presence?
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea –
Even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.If I say, surely darkness will hide me,
And the light become dark all around me –
Not even dark is dark to you,
Night will shine like the day.
And if I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea –
Even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.So I’ll praise You, praise You,
Lift up my voice and I’ll praise You, Lord.
Father, I praise You, praise You,
Praise you, Lord.

You created me within,
You knit me in my mother’s womb.
I praise You for I am fearfully made;
Your works are wonderful.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea –
Even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.

Never in my life had scripture been so vivid. It was almost as if the psalmist who penned Psalm 139 was seeing this view with me. The song captured in words the height and depth that I was seeing as I looked to the river in the abyss and then back to the distant vista of mountains. It so wonderfully parallels this with the relationship that God has for us. The author highlights a relationship in which God knows our habits–good and bad. They bring to mind that God has an integral part in crafting us before we are born. They help us cherish a relationship between God and humankind where nothing–no, nothing–can separate us from God’s presence and God’s love. For that God is worthy of our praise.
Photo by Blake Richard Verdoorn.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thru His grace we live and praise His name.

    Like

    1. Amen. Thank you for reading.

      Like

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