I was having a hard time figuring out what to present. My first suggestion to Fangfang, our translator and organizer, didn't fly. She wanted one that I had put forward as a possibility a while back - Psalm 139. I had suggested it because I was teaching a class on the book of Psalms for my church and Psalm 139 was one of my favorites.
As I started reading and studying and thinking through the words and images, I got more excited. Of course! This psalm would be a perfect topic to start the day (Fangfang had already placed me in the first hour to teach). How can we even begin to have healthy relationships with others if we are not grounded and centered first in the love and care of our God? Community flows out of communion with God!
Two years ago, I was asked to write a devotional for the Lenten booklet being prepared at our church. The theme was Psalm 139. I was assigned verses 13-16:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
This is what I wrote for the devotional:
God has been having his own advent conspiracy. Regardless of what biology and genetics has been able to explain, God never stopped his intimate involvement in bringing humans from the womb into the world. His conspiracy is to bring the Creator back into the story of life and to invite us to respond with wonder.
Your conception and advent into this world is a gift to God himself. You are his hand-made gift, not one chosen from a shelf or made in an assembly line. You are his treasured possession, never to be discarded. Like a potter molding clay and a weaver weaving cloth, his hand was intimately involved in creating you.
God saw your unfinished vessel as he wove your sinews and flesh upon a frame of bones. He created space for your unique soul to inhabit, a consciousness with dreams and desires, passions and personality. In fact, the Hebrew reads literally, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made distinct.” At birth, you slipped into a time and space carved out by God for you alone so that your vessel and your days would be filled with his great love.
Every day is advent conspiracy for God. No matter the circumstances of your birth and the challenges to your purpose in life, you are invited to join his conspiracy and embrace his hand-made gift of your unique and amazing vessel. So dance in the space you inhabit. Revel in the wonder of who God made you to be as an act of worship to the One who created you.
I can't wait to tell the Chinese people this story and this truth - that each of them is a gift, precious, cared for, seen, pursued, created with love and birthed for purpose.