Walking with God – Psalms 27:8-9

Psalms 27:8-9 8. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek. 9. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

I had the privilege, in the Navy, of flying for more than twenty years. There are some things I do not miss about flying, but there are many more that I do miss. I do not miss, for example, flying over the North Atlantic at night through frontal thunderstorms in January. Nowadays, most aircraft can often get around or over the storms. In the mid-1960s, though, the patrol planes we flew in search of the “wily Soviet submariner” were far less advanced than those of today.

Back then, we flew a rotary-engine propeller aircraft. Mature, frontal thunderstorms with towering anvil headed clouds are vicious. They rock the plane, shake the plane, jolt the plane every which way. On dark nights, frequent bolts of lightning in the midst of the clouds can be unnerving. Prayers are said. Such situations recalled to me the words of my eighth grade teacher, “One must keep one’s wits about him to survive.” Well, our wits in one place, we were always happy and most thankful to have overcome a rigorous trial and returned safely to Norfolk!

What I especially miss is flying on a day after the passage of a cold front. The weather becomes CAVU (ceiling and visibility unlimited). The air is crisp and cool, and there is nothing to impede sight. One can see miles and miles in any direction. As the poem goes, to have flown in those conditions is to have “. . . wheeled and soared and swung / High in the sunlit silence.” You can look down on what appears an undisturbed world of rivers and rills and fields and hills.

Once, long ago, in the late afternoon of an incredibly clear, brilliant day at “angels ten” (10,000 feet), above Evergreen, Alabama, I could see the gulf to the south and almost to Montgomery in the north. En route to Milton, Florida, I could see the darkening fields below and the setting sun’s rays
gleaming from the distant outline of Mobile Bay to the southwest. There is no adequate way to describe either the beauty of that scene or the elation I felt in that situation. That particular instant is as vivid to me today as it was nearly fifty years ago, and I often recall it when I seek a moment of personal solitude. Perhaps on that day, I too, “reached out and touched the face of God!”

Our Lenten journey may not be too unlike a flight experience. As we ponder Christ’s sojourn in the wilderness and the events leading to his crucifixion, we travel a path of deepening gloom: trial, humiliation, torture, derision, death. Darkness descends, and prayers are said. Despair is at hand. Thankfully, we know what’s coming: a brilliance of light and love through the resurrection of Christ, and the elation of salvation. Have we found the face of God?

O God, in your grace and mercy, lead us through our reflections so that, seeking we may find your face. Amen

Warren Kinney

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Walking with God – Psalms 27:8-9

Walking with God – Psalms 17:2

Psalms 17:2 Let my judgement come forth from Your presence; Let Your eyes look with equity.

In these verses, the psalmist is offering a prayer seeking God’s protection against oppressors. We are less than a week into the Lenten season when Christians throughout the world reflect upon the sacrifices of Christ as we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter and our Lord’s victory over the grave. During this time, many of us experience a heightened awareness of our need for God’s protection just as the psalmist

As a lawyer, I find it interesting that in the second verse the Lord is beseeched to “Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; Let Your eyes look with equity.” I am particularly drawn to the word “equity”. Most of us think of equity as the value of our home after taking into account any outstanding mortgage; however, for lawyers “equity” may have a much more significant meaning. In medieval times in England, the law could often be very unfair and its application render an outcome that while based upon sound legal principles, it was unduly harsh.

Those affected could only appeal to the king or queen, and this created political problems for the royalty. Should the law be followed when its application was so unpopular? Often the response was for the king or queen to refer the matter to the Lord Chancellor of England and it became his duty to “do the right thing” as the monarch empowered him with royal authority. The Lord Chancellor became commonly known as the “conscience of the king” and his court known as a “chancery court” or an “equity court.”

When I began practicing law over 40 years ago, there were equity courts with circuit judges who heard only equity cases, but now for the most part all circuit courts hear “legal” and “equity” cases and exercise their powers accordingly. A court might be called upon to use its equitable powers to reform a mortgage or agreement if one of the parties had exercised some unfair advantage. Another example would be when a person requests an order of protection to stop some action that might prove injurious and money damages would not render satisfaction. I think this is what the psalmist is requesting. Protection.

Litigants before an equity court who seek equity must “come with clean hands and be prepared to do equity.” The psalmist clearly sets out in his petition to the Lord that he was blameless and without fault. It is incredible how many similarities there are in this prayer for relief to the Lord and similar pleadings that a person might make today in requesting an order of relief from a judge.

As Christians, we have no such admonition to come before the Lord as blameless and without fault. Our hands are not clean, but we worship the Risen Lord and know that unlike the psalmist or the litigant our petition seeking forgiveness will still be granted. Only Jesus can forgive the worst sin imaginable and love us just as much as before we sinned. For me, that’s the essence of Lent—reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice for all of us.

Lenten Prayer: Father, please forgive us of our sins and make us mindful of the sacrifice of Your Son that grants our petition for mercy, forgiveness and the promise of life with You in eternity.

Charlie Waldrep

Walking with God – Psalms 17:2

Welcome to our Lenten Blog Series: Walking with God

What does it mean to Walk with Jesus? Often, we talk about our journey of faith as a daily walk filled with joy, sorrow, and simply the everyday experiences of life. As we journey to the cross this Lenten season, we have the space and time to reflect on the life, service, and sacrifice of Christ. Whether you are entering this journey through sacrifice, a commitment to deeper reflection, or intentional service, our journey centers on the Christ who came demonstrating the unimaginable love and unending grace of God. 

As we walk together this season, you’re invited to walk to join our Lenten blog series. In it you find the thoughts, meditations, scriptures, and tools that help us to experience and live the love, grace, and joy found in our relationship with God. 

Walk together by simply reading and reflecting, by writing a comment or two, or by sharing your own experience with the living Lord. Today, our Lent journey begins…what will your Walk with Jesus reveal?  

*Join the conversation by commenting in the thread below.

Welcome to our Lenten Blog Series: Walking with God

Deacons and Committees Nominations

Several important annual processes are underway and you have an opportunity to take part. The first is the nomination and election of deacons to serve for the coming year. Nomination forms are available in various locations around the church building. Please fill out the form and turn it in to Deacon Chairperson, Chris Fisher, Vice-Chairperson, Marilyn Shepard, or the church office, if you would like to nominate someone to serve as deacon. It is also the time of the year to elect church officers and committee chairs and co-chairs for the standing church committees. The nominating committee will meet and prayerfully consider those who have expressed interest in serving in various capacities as well as contacting others who may have gifts and talents that when used in leadership will make us stronger and more effective as we all work together. Please prayerfully consider your place of service through our family of faith.

Please remember the Wednesday evening and Thursday opportunities for meeting and growing in faith and depth of understanding of our calling to be the presence of Christ in this community. A list of all the weekday events are in the calendar below to which you are invited and encouraged to attend.

I look forward to seeing you at these gatherings and on Sunday when we meet for Fellowship, Bible Study and Worship.

Deacons and Committees Nominations

Shared Experiences

This past Sunday was a wonderful day at Southside. It was a full day with Bible Study, Worship, and a wonderful organ concert in the afternoon to celebrate the dedication of the Southside pipe organ fifty years ago. Several former Southside Baptist members were present, and once again, I was reminded of how shared experiences link our lives with others and shape our faith as we journey through life whether together or apart. A special thank you to Ms. Sarah Heaslett for initiating and securing Huw Lewis to play for this concert, and to all others who volunteered their time in helping with the concert and the reception. Thank you to Rusty Bennett, Henry Hobson, Paul Huie, Nancy Cook, Annah Kelley, Faye Lambert, Bonnie Lessman, Chris McClendon, Kay Thompson and Brenda Tidwell, it was an outstanding event.

Several members from Southside will attend a community forum tonight. Dr. Neal Berte, president emeritus of Birmingham Southern College, will facilitate a discussion on Payday Lending practices and the current legislative efforts to limit the exorbitant interest rates these businesses currently charge. I encourage you to attend if possible. This is an issue that particularly impacts the poor in our state and as a matter of faith, we need to be informed and involved. This discussion will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Canterbury United Methodist Church, 350 Overbrook Road, Mountain Brook, Al 35213. Lest the threat of additional heavy rain today dissuade you from attending, a parking deck with covered access to the building is available.

I look forward to seeing those able to attend this special opportunity. For those unable to attend this forum, I hope you will be present for Fellowship Supper, Prayer Time, and a continuation of the study series, “Baptist Identity,” led by Dr. Roxburgh on Wednesday evening.

Shared Experiences

50th Anniversary Celebration

Celebrating good things in life, especially significant events or milestones in our life or the life of an organization, is tremendously important. The occasion of celebration allows us to collectively capture some of the thoughts, feelings, values and commitments of a particular time in life. This Sunday is one of those occasions in the life of Southside Baptist Church. An organ concert is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on February 17, 2019 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Southside Pipe Organ, given by the late Mr. and Mrs. Frank P. Samford in 1968 as a part of the remodeled and refurbished sanctuary.  

This excerpt comes from the 1968 Service of Dedication program:

We, the congregation, express appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Samford for the most recent evidence of their generosity. The Samford Organ for years to come will call us to the worship of our Savior, and its music, sometimes thrilling, sometimes majestic, sometimes meditative will assist us in singing with the hymn writer, ‘O praise Him! O praise Him! Alleluia! Alleluia!”  

The Southside Organ has been used in more than 4,000 worship services, not including the many special services of revivals, funerals and weddings during which hundreds of thousands of individuals have lifted voices to worship God with heart and voice. I hope you will be present for this significant event and celebration, and that we too can be reminded of the great and wonderful things that God has done, is doing now, and will do in the future. 

Praise be to God! Alleluia!

50th Anniversary Celebration