OWAAT November 19: Thanking God Without “Lightwashing”

This week we move from Book III to IV of the Psalms. It’s also the week of Thanksgiving (or Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Remembrance). If we are among those who use this time of the year to consider for what we’re thankful, as Christians we generally thank God for that with which we have been blessed, and many of us may even thank God for everything – not just the good, but also the bad and everything in-between! Sometimes that’s even seen as the “spiritually mature” or “aware” thing to do. However, one reason I am grateful for the Psalms is the helpful role that lament plays: we can complain to God, too!


Daily Bible readings:

November 19 Psalm 86
November 20 Psalm 87
November 21 Psalm 88
November 22 Psalm 89
November 23 Psalm 90
November 24 Psalm 91
November 25 Psalm 92

As we’ve worked our way through the Psalms, we’ve seen any number of ways that the Psalms’ authors have connected to God. This is great – because there are so many different ways to connect to God! Reaching out toward God is never a bad idea – and yet there are sometimes ways in which we connect with God that make God do all the work, or even attribute things to God that God wouldn’t actually do, a practice Layla Saad gives the catchy name of “lightwashing.”


As we continue praying with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for the month of November, using their monthly Prayer Ventures letter for November 2017, consider how your prayers connect with the church worldwide.


What do you see as the differences between God’s realm and our current reality? How will you serve and live out your love for God and neighbor this week, working to close the gap between God’s ideals and our reality as we understand it? If you’re not sure, here are some ideas:

Check the Think! Pray! Act! calendar for things to do.

Find your local faith- or congregation-based community organizing network/organization and participate in their work and actions. Here are links to the major faith-based community organizing networks and their local affiliate organizations:

DART – Direct Action and Research Training Center


IAF – Industrial Areas Foundation

IVP – InterValley Project

PICO – People Improving Communities through Organizing

What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.

Saad, Layla. “I Need to Talk to Spiritual White Women about White Supremacy (Part One).” Wild Mystic Woman, August 15, 2017. http://www.wildmysticwoman.com/poetry-prose/white-women-white-supremacy-1.