Tag Archive: Casting Crowns


Second Sunday in Lent

Round two. Ding ding! We’re now one and a half weeks into our Lenten journey. And I must admit that this past week, I floundered a bit with my Lenten discipline. I didn’t touch Facebook, but I also neglected digging into the Psalms like I was hoping to. I continued praying and living with Psalm 51, which I’m now quite comfortable with, but with midterms, I decided to save the space in my memory for vocabulary terms, dates, religious movements, and themes in Christian mission and the Psalter rather than for memorizing a psalm.

I think that having the Scriptures memorized is incredibly helpful and can give me words when my own seem inadequate or like they come up empty. At the same time, however, “failing” in my memorization for the past week made me feel like I was neglecting my discipline (which I was), but I think I need to be careful not to slip over into equating “succeeding” in this discipline as putting me more in God’s favor or somehow making me more pious. It is a tool to help me on my way – first and foremost to teach me about God and help me to follow God, and secondly, to encourage me to reflect on myself. No memorization or lack of memorization can increase or decrease the amazing gift we have received through what Christ has already accomplished on the cross.

Providentially, Psalm 121 is today’s psalm and it highlights that God alone is our help. The same God who created heaven and earth and who will keep our going out and coming in “from this time on and forevermore.” I pray that reading and contemplating this psalm this week will remind me of the incredible goodness and steadfastness of God’s work and promises – promises which God keeps even when I may fall short. The Lord of all creation keeps our lives, watches over us and “will neither slumber not sleep” out of love for us – God’s children.

Stay tuned next week to see what I learn from a week with Psalm 121!

Psalm 121
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills — from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

Below is a song from Casting Crowns entitled “Praise You in This Storm” which includes the words of Psalm 121:

© 2011. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

First Snow

Today, I’ve been watching the snowflakes dance and drift slowly to the ground. It’s the first snow of winter and I love it! It’s coated the grassy area in back and the roofs of the buildings across the way with a white layer of fluff. For a while, I heard shouts of joy from kids playing in the snow – giggles and the sound of a snowball fight in progress. I wish I could have joined them, but, alas, the final assignments of the semester were calling my name. Even now I’m procrastinating!

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been loving seminary, but I’m ready to have a bit of a break! Right now, I’m in “get it done” mode and crossing things off my list makes me almost shout with giddiness: “Yes! One step closer!” It’s been a wonderful semester, but I feel almost as if I’ve forgotten some basic things in the hustle and bustle.

In school we discuss God, ponder God, debate about God and theology, learn about how people in the past have talked about and believed in God, how people worship, why we worship the way we do… It’s fascinating and I feel like I’m learning a ton, but it’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how important it is to just sit still and listen to God.

I find myself in dire need of Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still. Those two words are so simple and, yet, incredibly complicated. How on earth can I be still with seven classes, a part-time job, my teaching parish, and trying to have some kind of a social life?! And now, it’s Advent and we’re ramping up for Christmas. Being still seems impossible, but I think it’s the thing we need most desperately.

In Advent, we await the coming of Christ with great anticipation and excitement. In this season of hope and expectation, we wait until the time is right for Christ to enter the world. However, I think this is what we need to be doing every day – not just in Advent. We need to be still – to wait for God to burst into our lives and make Himself known to us. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated in Meditating on the Word, “to be silent does not mean to be inactive; rather it means to breathe in the will of God, to listen attentively and be ready to obey.”

If we’re running around, we might miss His arrival. We might miss the opportunities He wants to grant us in spending time with loved ones or making time for the stranger or the outcast. We might miss how He longs to speak to us through His Word if we say, “I haven’t the time to read yet another book.” We might miss speaking with Him or hearing Him speak to us in prayer.

The snowfall and the sound of children playing helped to remind me of the simple pleasures. They helped me to remember how relaxing and renewing simply sitting with a cup of coffee and taking things in is. Moreover, I was reminded of how important it is to sit quietly with God – to listen for His voice, to praise His goodness and faithfulness, to thank Him for the blessings we have received, and to just enjoy the company of the Almighty. How refreshing it is to be still!

And so, I pray:
Holy God, as the snow drifts to the ground, help us to remember the importance of being still and knowing who you are – the God of creation, justice, salvation, peace, mercy, hope and renewal. In the midst of to-do lists, errands and the end of the semester, may we rest in the sheer joy of sitting with you. I ask this in the name of your precious Son, Jesus Christ, AMEN!

© 2009. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.

A beautiful instrumental version of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by “Casting Crowns” to put you in the holiday mood:

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