Like a Tree Planted by Streams of Water

by Rev. Nick Chambers

This week’s psalm is of particular importance to me personally. They are some of the last words my late grandfather ever spoke. As I have actually shared in a previous reflection, my grandfather Jack was a remarkable man. Our son is named after him. Every morning he would get up early to run five miles and read Scripture and drink coffee out of a mug I swear was as large as a soup bowl. He was particularly a lover of the Psalms. I inherited a few of his Bibles, and throughout the Psalms, the pages are heavy with the red ink of his pen.

 

Because of a series of strokes, for the last few years of his life he could articulate little more than “yes” and “no.”  For a long time, he could still beat you in cards, but he couldn’t communicate. One beautiful gift, however, was that he could still sing hymns. His favorites that he knew by heart would come easily to his lips long after everyday speech would not. When Jack's health took a final turn, during the last couple days of his life, he was barely responsive. Their pastor visited him in hospice. He talked and prayed with my family, and he began to read Psalm 8, and Jack weakly but clearly began to recite it along with him.

 

“Like a tree planted by streams of water,” Jack’s soul was saturated in the psalms. Even when our bodies and brains rebel against us, certain storehouses can remain. I pray you memorize Psalm 8 this week. It is a song of wonder, humility, responsibility, and—as Hebrews reads it—of the lordship of Christ himself.