speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes and does not keep silence,
before him is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around him.
He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
‘Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!’
The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.
‘Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt-offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house,
or goats from your folds.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
‘If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.’
But to the wicked God says: ‘What right have you to recite my statutes,
or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you.
You make friends with a thief when you see one, and you keep company with adulterers.
‘You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your kin; you slander your own mother’s child.
These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
‘Mark this, then, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.
Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me; to those who go the right way
I will show the salvation of God.’Psalm 50
Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
I am considerably better today, after a good rest. We walked in the evening as the light and shadows mixed and stopped when the deep darkness set in. We will sleep in the deep darkness and continue our journey during the day, taking regular breaks and resting often. Joseph is very worried about me. He want me to ride on the donkey but my center of balance is completely off. It doesn't seem like anyone is seeking after us, no word has come that there is trouble behind us.
We are moving into larger communities and try to keep around the edges. Word is that the crowds in Bethlehem are huge as they are in Jerusalem. This government enrollment is a bigger deal than we understood, and could complicate our journey even more. It might well give us good cover in the throngs.
Sadness and fear overwhelmed me after my fall, and it seemed that there was evil and destruction all around us. I let fear take over. While I was resting, Joseph reminded me of God's promises, even as he was wiping my tears. He reminded me of God's promise to you and how despite impossible circumstance you were given a child. It was a tender and kind moment and I am so grateful for his love and care. We recite the psalms we have learned by heart together as we travel. It has brought us a sense of peace, despite all of the challenges we face. We still covet your prayers!