July 15, 2020 Daily Devotional

Mary Oliver's poetry has been a go to for me for many years, and even more so during

this pandemic. Last year I stumbled upon this poem, written by two of Mary's fans after

Mary's death. It came to mind as I read today's Psalm, in particular when the psalmist

says, "Put my tears into your bottle.." in verse 8. I invite you to read Mary Oliver's poem

and then the response of her fans during their time of grief...


I Go Down To The Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning

and depending on the hour the waves

are rolling in or moving out,

and I say, oh, I am miserable,

what shall—

what should I do? And the sea says

in its lovely voice:

"Excuse me, I have work to do.”

-- Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings


I Go Down To The Shore Again

I go down to the shore in that time

when my emotions roll over me like waves

rolling in or ebbing out,

and I say, oh, I am miserable,

what must—

what may I do? And the sea says

in its lovely voice:

"I will collect your tears.”

-- A tribute by two fans of Mary Oliver



Psalm 56

God, have mercy on me because I’m being trampled.

All day long the enemy oppresses me.

2 My attackers trample me all day long

because I have so many enemies.

Exalted one,

3 whenever I’m afraid,

I put my trust in you—

4 in God, whose word I praise.

I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.

What can mere flesh do to me?

5 All day long they frustrate my pursuits;

all their thoughts are evil against me.

6 They get together and set an ambush—

they are watching my steps,

hoping for my death.

7 Don’t rescue them for any reason!

In wrath bring down the people, God!

8 You yourself have kept track of my misery.

Put my tears into your bottle—

aren’t they on your scroll already?

9 Then my enemies will retreat when I cry out.

I know this because God is mine.

10 God: whose word I praise.

The Lord: whose word I praise.

11 I trust in God; I won’t be afraid.

What can anyone do to me?

12 I will fulfill my promises to you, God.

I will present thanksgiving offerings to you

13 because you have saved my life from death,

saved my feet from stumbling

so that I can walk before God in the light of life.

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