Is This Working?


Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Week of: October 25, 2020
Scripture: Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands – O prosper the work of our hands!
(Psalm 90:14-17, NRSV)


I find myself afflicted by the artistic curse known as "jack of all trades, master of none." A little music here, a little graphic design there, and a mountain of video production over these last six months have contributed to the feeling that "the work of my hands" may not mean much after the music is heard and forgotten, the graphic viewed and discarded, and the video stream silenced and archived. Even when I venture into wood and metalwork, I know these tangible pieces will eventually decay and be forgotten.

So much art made for worship can feel utilitarian and disposable after it has been viewed, performed, or consumed. The constant churn of weekly church sometimes leaves me wondering what will endure after the service is over. This week's Psalm reminds me that God stretches well beyond anything that has and ever will exist – as far back as we can collectively remember, as far forward as our collective minds are able to imagine. While our human place in this vastness of God is like the quickness of a dream or the frailness of grass, the work we accomplish with our hands can find meaning through the satisfying steadfast love of God that renews itself each and every morning.

If you, like I, wonder if the things we make actually make a difference, this Psalm encourages us to rejoice and be glad in the work God has already done, is doing, and will continue to do, even through the work of our hands.


Eternal God, you have set eternity in our hearts and mortality in our hands. Give us the wisdom, grace, and steadfast love to unite your eternity and our mortality for the coming of your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Isaac GaffDr. Isaac Gaff
Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts
Calvary United Methodist Church
Normal, IL 


Photo: Eddie Huss plays the organ at Waynesville First UMC during Music & Worship Arts Week 2019.  (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)


These Things Happen
Called to Lead
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