Thu Jun 9-The Illusion of Independence

Psalm 104:24-31 (CEB)

24 Lord, you have done so many things!
    You made them all so wisely!
The earth is full of your creations!
25 And then there’s the sea, wide and deep,
    with its countless creatures—
    living things both small and large.
26 There go the ships on it,
    and Leviathan, which you made, plays in it!
27 All your creations wait for you
    to give them their food on time.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled completely full!
29 But when you hide your face, they are terrified;
    when you take away their breath,
    they die and return to dust.
30 When you let loose your breath, they are created,
    and you make the surface of the ground brand-new again.

31 Let the Lord’s glory last forever!
    Let the Lord rejoice in all he has made!


Dogs don’t let you forget when its dinnertime. Often Simba, when he is hungry, will come behind you and poke you with his nose until you feed him. Or he’ll sit a few feet away from the dinner table and give you the stink eye the entire time you are eating. Simba likes to have dinner when his people have dinner. When you deviate from that, he lets you know it.

Simba is the picture of total reliance. We are the center of his world, and he’s completely dependent on us for everything. Now, I’m not sure if he sees things that way. He thinks he’s a big tough dog – and in fact is willing to take on pretty much any other canine, anywhere, anytime. He always thinks he is the one in control of the situation. I mean, what else are the pokes and the stares about?

The humans recognize that they’re the center of the dog’s universe. In fact, the dog seems silly for thinking that it has so much control (maybe our picking up their poops has given them the wrong impression).

But if all this is true, I can’t help but wonder what we’ve missed in assessing our relationship with God? Is it possible we’re every bit as dependent – and yet every bit as clueless about how dependent we are?

There are myriad ways that we are dependent on God in each and every moment – from the breath in our lungs to the design of our brains to the gifts and talents we’ve been given to work and care for our families. Did any of this come from us? Of course not.

Yet, we claim to be self-made. And we aim to be reliant on no one.

But that’s simply not true. It’s not true for me any more than it is for Simba. And it’s certainly not true when it comes to God. We don’t live in a state of independence – instead we lean on the illusion of independence.

Today’s scripture reminds us that this is not only true for us, but for all of creation.

by Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

How would your faith change if you saw your dependence on God as a way to embrace your solidarity with all Creation? If we are ALL dependent on God and sustained BY God – what kinds of spiritual understandings does that begin to cultivate within us?

Prayer: Holy One, despite our constant efforts to deny that we need any help, we recognize today that we are fully reliant and dependent on you. Help us to embrace the humility of this posture that we might know your sustaining presence in the face of the challenges we face each day. Amen.

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