I sat in chapel with stone floors and a high wooden ceiling surrounded by hundreds of other students. It was opening convocation on my first “official” day of college. I was nervous, naive, and brave enough to take on the world, all at the same time. And as I sat on the long wooden pew, we were directed to repeat after the college president: “Vi” “Vi”, “Vavi” “Vavi”, “Levavi” “Levavi”, “los” “los”, “culos” “culos” , “oculos” “oculos”, “Levavi oculos” “Levavi oculos”. After our Latin pronunciation lesson, the president carefully explained how we would learn how this phrase or motto would become important to us over the next four years. Hollins University’s school motto means, “Lift thine eyes” and was borrowed from the 121st Psalm. We would learn to lift our eyes in a physical sense…lifting our eyes to the newness of knowledge and wisdom we would gain. We would learn to lift our eyes in a spiritual sense…learning to lift our eyes to the God we worshiped and the friends and mentors that surrounded us. We would also learn to lift our eyes in a literal sense as we were surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Blue Ridge. So as a student at Hollins, levavi oculos would become a part of our being!
This psalm is purposefully placed in the lectionary during the season of Lent. Lent is traditionally known as a time of confession and repentance. We are in a season of personal reflection and introspective thought. We are encouraged to return to our God. Quite literally this psalm reminds us to lift our eyes to our creator, the maker of heaven and earth. We are reminded to turn our eyes to the One who helps us. During the season of Lent we return to the Lord who does not slumber or sleep or rest from coming to our aid. As we reflect on our own mortality and weaknesses, we can find strength and comfort when we lift our eyes away from ourselves and towards the mountains. (hint: if you were in worship on Sunday, another way of saying this is we find our way, when we lose OUR way) And when we lift our eyes to our Helper, we prepare ourselves to receive God and God’s way for us. We open ourselves to newness. When we lift our eyes to the Lord, our brokenness can be made whole.
As a member of the chapel choir at Hollins, we sang Mendlessohn’s “Lift Thine Eyes” from Elijah regularly for special University events. It is by far one of my favorite pieces of music. I encourage you to listen to this piece and imagine yourself ready and open and willing to meet new things that God will place in front of you.
If You Missed Last Sunday’s Sermon…
Listen to Losing Our Way – Matthew 4:1-11
God’s Words for This Week
John 3:1-17 – God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (CEB, v.17)
Psalm 121 – My help cometh from the Lord (KJV, v.2)
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 – the fulfillment of God’s promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God’s promise arrives as pure gift. (The Message, v.16)
Genesis 12:1-4a – I will bless you… so that you will be a blessing. (NRSV, v.2)
This Week at The Hood
Monday, March 6, 3:00 pm – Women’s Circle 1
Monday, March 6, 6:00 pm – Women’s Circle 2
Tuesday, March 7, 6:00 pm – Mission-Vision Team Meeting
Thursday, March 9, 3:30 pm – Prayer & Inspiration
Thursday, March 9, 6:00 pm – Choir Practice
Sunday, March 12, 11:00 am – Worship – Second Sunday of Lent, Child Dedication Service
Coming Up: Called Church-Wide Conference Meeting on Sunday, March 19 After Worship
February 18, 2019
February 12, 2019
January 22, 2019