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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Psalm 139: The constant circle

Love is too weak a word. It cannot begin to measure what rushes from the speaker's mouth in Psalm 139.

He struggles to say what boils in his soul as he experiences God's intimate knowledge of his thoughts and ways, the unpredictable journey of his life and the unseen mysteries of his future.

"It is too wonderful for me," he says as he praises the splendor of God for the utter grace of being fully, absolutely known — and treasured. "I can make no sense of it."

The art on the following pages won't allow you to make sense of it either. But the pieces may help you know, with the fullness of your being, that you, too, are known, treasured and delighted in by the holy One the psalmist praises.

The Lutheran's art director, Michael Watson, assigned five artists, working in different media, to create works that express this message from Psalm 139 (see box). The artists' words accompany each piece.

The psalm coaxes us to rest and wonder in a love that knew us in the womb, that smiled at our childhood antics and adolescent awkwardness, that hungered for us in the days of our wayward carelessness — a love that longs for us to fall into the depth of its eternity, finally to know this loving mystery face to face.

Through the artists' skill and imagination, all this becomes word and image, exciting memories and feelings, fears and hopes, hungers and joys. Each of these is to be prayed, offered to God, just as the psalmist offered his praise and wonder.

So don't just look at the pictures. Pay attention to what they stir within you.


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