A special note of thanks to those who have helped is blog along the way. This is the 1000 post on Pondering with DrB.
42 Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will I come and see God’s face? My tears have been my food both day and night, as people constantly questioned me, “Where’s your God now?” But I remember these things as I bare my soul: how I made my way to the mighty one’s abode, to God’s own house, with joyous shouts and thanks-giving songs—a huge crowd celebrating the festival! Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God!
Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God.
My whole being is depressed. That’s why I remember you from the land of Jordan and Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep called to deep at the noise of your waterfalls; all your massive waves surged over me. By day the Lord commands his faithful love; by night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God, my solid rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why do I have to walk around, sad, oppressed by enemies?”
With my bones crushed, my foes make fun of me, constantly questioning me: “Where’s your God now?” Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed?
Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God! Because I will again give him thanks my saving presence and my God.
43 Establish justice for me, God! Argue my case against ungodly people!
Rescue me from the dishonest and unjust! Because you are my God, my protective fortress! Why have you rejected me? Why do I have to walk around, sad, oppressed by enemies? Send your light and truth—those will guide me! Let them bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place. Let me come to God’s altar—let me come to God, my joy, my delight—then I will give you thanks with the lyre, God, my God! Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed? Why are you so upset inside? Hope in God!
Because I will again give him thanks, my saving presence and my God
This morning we are beginning a new sermon series this sermon series is based on the Thanksgiving table. Over the next five weeks we will talk about various foods on the Thanksgiving table and how they each can remind us of things for which we need to be thankful.
As we go along in his sermon you’re going to find it some of these things most of these things I am a fan of. But not today’s I do not like dressing I admit it I’ve always admitted it when I was a kid my mother would make me take a small amount of it every year at Thanksgiving and I had to eat it well guess what I’m not a kid anymore I don’t have to eat it and I’m not going to eat it .
As time went on I’ve had people say oh Keith you just don’t like dressing because you’ve never had mine. Look two people who I knew to be outstanding cooks and, I am told made just about the best dressing anywhere, both are deceased now, I’ve had both of their dressings on numerous occasions I don’t like them either . One was my mother-in-law the other was my my maternal grandmother. If I didn’t like there’s I doubt seriously there’s anybody’s I’m going to like. It is said that whenever a company function would happen at my father in law’s work he was required to bring a huge pan of my mother in laws addressing of which none of it ever returned home.
In both my family and cindy’s 2, dressing is a required staple for the traditional Thanksgiving table. For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would totally lose their mind and mess up perfectly good cornbread by making it into mushy cornbread dressing stuff. There is very little doubt in my mind, doing such a terrible thing as this has to be a great sin. I’ve never actually found it in the Bible but it’s got to be there somewhere where no doubt in my mind about it and if it’s not there I know it’s in the discipline.
And please, don’t ask me that quote or tell me that statement about I just don’t like dressing ’cause I haven’t had yours. It’s a trick. It’s a plot to get me to eat that stuff . And I have eaten my mother-in-law’s dressing several times an until just a few years ago there was almost never a year when I didn’t have a little bit of my grandmother’s dressing. I am told both are very good, among the best anyone, anywhere, had cooked. Right before cindy’s father retired when the company was having a big eating event he always had to bring a large pan of dressing it was the expectation that my mother-in-law would make her famous dressing. When the meal ended it was always gone my family always raved over my grandmother’s dressing. You probably weren’t going to find any leftovers then either. Guess what, I didn’t care for my mother-in-law’s dressing either the same applied to my grandmother. I’m still not positive but I think it’s the sage.
Now, if we’re talking about other kinds of dressing, I’m at least willing to talk about it and for that matter, I’m willing to try it. I’ve even found a few kinds of dressing that I really like . And, I will eat cornbread dressing if I’m starving. It doesn’t fall into the very small category of things that I adamantly refuse to eat under any circumstances now or ever. If I have to, I will eat it. But, friends, just because I’ll eat it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I know there are various kinds of dressing besides salad dressing. There is oyster dressing and rice dressing. Cindy’s mother made a rice dressing I really loved. I made an Apple dressing a few years ago that was pretty good. I’ve also made cranberry dressing. As you might expect, well as you’ll learn next week I really liked that one. All the thinking about dressing made me get curious, so a few years ago I did some investigating. I wondered how many different kinds of dressing there are. I doubt I have the answer even now. I went on to allrecipes.com to look. I was surprised, there were 121 different unique recipes for dressing in that one database I never bothered to look at Food Network or anywhere else. I’m not even going to start to attempt to write a list or it might take you all day to be able to hear the rest of this sermon I’m sure you have better things to do this afternoon. Just suffice it to say there were some I would try no questions asked. Others just didn’t sound so good. Think about. Prune dressing? Really? Come on !!!
As all of us have things in our lives we don’t like. One for me in food is liver. I will eat dressing, if I absolutely have to. Even if you are one of those rare people who could honestly say there is no food I don’t like,” for every last one of us there is still something we don’t like. It may not be food but there is something.
In food, I might not know what most of you would eat, but I do know it for some people Cindy doesn’t like tomatoes. My mother doesn’t like bananas. I happen to love both. There is virtually no way possible to mess up either. But, I am not challenging you to give it a shot my father didn’t like squash. For me it depends on preparation. My oldest son does not like onions, my youngest son doesn’t like nuts, and my sister doesn’t like beings. Former president the late George HW Bush famously did not like broccoli. There aren’t any of those things I don’t like except maybe the squash and like I said that’s a preparation thing I don’t eat broccoli raw. If you cook it I’ll eat it. I learned to eat mestek food in the Navy, if I can eat that I can eat just about anything. Some of that stuff was, well, give me some dressing please .
Psalm 42 and 43 find the psalmist crying out because of God’s seeming lack of presence for God’s chosen people Israel they were unable to see God in the turmoil that was around them the psalmist is crying out for God to return and lead the nation. It can be very difficult to see God during those hard times period
The Romans destroyed yahweh’s temple , as well as other places in Jerusalem by babylonian invaders who were now an occupying force in the land. For the Israelites the temple was the symbol of God’s presence with God’s people. The people didn’t understand the meaning of the theological with the temple gone, so was the possibility of temple worship. There was no cleansing of what of that which was desecrated. With the temple worship gone, at least the way the Israelites understood it was gone too. All this led the ancients to fear God was gone as well.
Of course, God wasn’t really gone at all. Though the psalmist says otherwise in the lyrics of the Psalm, what he really knows and believes is evident in the simple prayer that the psalmist is that the Psalm is to God. The psalmist somehow knew in the deepest places of his being that though God seemed far away, God’s presence was right it was real and it was ever present .
Without question , the psalmist didn’t like what was happening in Israel. If we tried to place ourselves in his situation, we probably wouldn’t like it much either. But, his options were limited. He could quit and accept the babylonians presence as a permanent reality or he could pray that God would see fit to bring Israel back again to be the real power and presence in the world. It was the latter he would choose.
So, with a thankful heart for all God had done in the past the psalmist prayed. God’s presence would be with the nation again. They truly felt as if God had abandoned them. With God’s presence returned the people who worshiped once again, from the temple to the smaller synagogue in the land.
It begs the question, how can one be thankful in the presence of something one dislikes so much? How can I be thankful for cornbread dressing in my life? I think for the psalmist, it was because he was thankful for God’s presence and actions in the past he knew Israel would overcome this and would see God at work again. We should look for the same in our difficult situations. God’s presence is with us. God’s presence is real. I will tell you friends, I am thankful to God, even for cornbread dressing that I’ve been probably never going to eat again. I am thankful for it because I know so many people I love are thankful for cornbread dressing that brings them great joy. They are happy. They enjoy it. In turn, that makes me happy and thankful.
I can also be thankful for cornbread dressing because seeing it reminds me of the bounty of a great Thanksgiving table and I know that with that full table, God provides me and for all those I love. I can be thankful for what I don’t like because of God’s presence with me and with all of us and because I know that I can also be thankful for the things that are on that table that I do like all those people around me that are eating that cornbread stuff they’re happy they enjoy it and in turn that makes me happy and it makes me thankful.
I can also be thankful for cornbread dressing because seeing it reminds me of the great Thanksgiving table and I know with all that full table, God provides for me and for those I love. I can be thankful for what I don’t like because of God’s presence with me and with all of us. It is in that cornbread dressing and in all that we eat when we celebrate this upcoming holiday, together with friends and family.
No, I’m probably not going to eat that dressing. If I do I assure you, it won’t be much. And, just so you know, it’s just fine with me for you to eat my portion. And, if it’s OK with you, I’ll just keep being thankful, even for the things I don’t like so much.
So Lord, please pass the dressing. I’m probably going to let it pass right on by me but I know this table is surrounded by people I love, and I know they’d like to have at least a spoon or two of cornbread dressing of the cornbread dressing I really don’t like so much and I’m really willing to share .