#MyFavorite Psalms, #Psalm 90 @BishopMikeBrennen

Hello, my name is Michael Brennen, Pastor of Ebenezer Wesleyan Methodist Church, Delray Beach, Florida. Here is my reflection upon Psalm 90, which has special significance because one of my late father’s favorite biblical quotations, which was published in his obituary, comes from Psalm 90. Let’s begin by reading selected verses from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Bible.

Psalms 90:1 ‭-‬ 6‭, ‬9‭ – ‬12 NRSV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
For all our days pass away under your wrath; our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
So, teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.

“From everlasting to everlasting, you are God,” was Daddy’s scriptural saying that I earlier mentioned. Mr. Brennen was well known throughout the community in which I grew up for several reasons, but chiefly because he rode his bicycle everywhere. Practically everyone in Nassau knew Mr. Brennen who rode that bike. He was a carpenter, and rode to work with his toolbox on the specially adapted back seat. All the bicycling was the most likely reason for his strength. Though short in stature, his sturdiness was unmatched among men. He was from a generation that toiled sun up to sundown, all their life. So, when this man, who represented for me longevity and endurance, exclaimed, “From everlasting to everlasting, you are God,” it provoked a lasting image of an old man giving reverence to an ancient God – to God who was in the beginning, is now, and will be forevermore.

Another expression, I heard him use, was “I die daily.” This gets to the essence of this Psalm – our vulnerability before an all powerful God. When we close our eyes at night, there is no guarantee we will wake to a new daylight. We live one day at a time, and moment by moment. The writer says we are like grass, “in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.”
If we live for seventy or eighty years, that is a blessing, not a guarantee. Our existing time on this planet is like a blink of an eye, or like a vapor that disappears, and is subject to God’s providence.

So, the lesson here is humility, an attitude we learn as our years increase. Let us seriously consider the Psalmist’s concluding words. “So, teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.”
Let us hold onto the wisdom of trusting an all-wise God; let us put our trust in an ever-faithful God. Let us sing with the hymn.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be
Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.



“Justice is the discernment of what belongs to whom, and returning it to them … Old debts must be settled … ‘He shall restore it in full, and shall add a fifth to it.'” – Walter Bruegemann

“If he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a FIFTH to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt.”
Leviticus 6:4‭-‬5 ESV

Trying Times

“A whole lot of things that’s wrong is going down, yes, it is
I can’t understand it from my point of view
‘Cause I think you should do unto others
As you’d have them do unto you
Then maybe folks wouldn’t have to suffer
If there was more love for your brother
But these are tryin’ times, yes, it is”

Roberta Flack, Tryin’ Times


Easy Conversation

There was a serious car accident with father and son in one vehicle. Dad was pronounced dead by the paramedics, son was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
The surgeon looked down at the boy, in shock, and shouted – that’s my son.
Who is the surgeon?

During a graduate class at Florida Atlantic University the professor posed this puzzle. It got me going for a moment. Dad was dead yet the surgeon said, “My son.” It did not immediately come to mind that the surgeon was the injured child’s mother.

In that period of time, one would reasonably expect everyone to use the distinguishing term,woman surgeon. Suchwere the paradigms back in the day. Certain occupations were gender assigned and exceptions required a designation, even the polar opposite classificationmale nurse.

I found an extreme example for us to explore for a moment. Still standing in a South…

View original post 463 more words


Let me open with this quote from Religion Professor, Dr. Terriel Byrd, Palm Beach Atlantic University. In 2007, he wrote:
“An unsettling erosion of the gains of the Civil Rights Movement is and has been apparent for a couple of decades …
America rested on its spiritual and civic laurels as if the work of spiritual and civic restoration had been completed, and mainstream Christianity was still absent and silent on these concerns …
What did arise, however, were a cacophony of voices that exploited the rewards of the Civil Rights Movement, rather than build upon them.”
Rough remarks, but true words, even today, even among the #woke generation, even with symbolic political gains and individual successes, even after two terms of the nation’s first black president, even as we inaugurated the first woman Vice President – a black woman – we still experience the unrighteousness of racial injustice. Things have changed, but things remain the same. And, with some exceptions, mainstream Christianity continues to look the other way and cross to the other side of the proverbial street, maybe, praying things will get better by and by when we cross to that distant shore … when we all get to heaven! Yet we must remember our regular petition, “Thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”
Nevertheless, this statement by Dr. Byrd addresses the lack of continuity in a movement, birthed in the church, the Black church in particular, when a Baptist Minister dared to speak truth to power. And, I daresay, the church has quieted and even lost its preaching and prophetic proclamations about social justice issues. But, in spite of it all, as groups and movements come and go, the black church remains, as in ages past, the most likely organizational force for effective social progress.
Therefore, allow me to use this brief moment to expound upon, and to apply a familiar biblical example to our times.
It is the story of Moses and Joshua. Remember, Moses led the people out of bondage but under him they never made it into the Land of Promise; they never got out of the wilderness. Instead, it would be left for Joshua to lead the people across the River Jordon, into the Promised Land.
Let us take another look, Moses freed the children, and he also gave them the freedom to dream. Joshua’s purpose was to make the dream a reality. Moses got to the mountaintop, only to see the glorious promise but never got to enter into its glory.
I am reminded of a speech made on April 3rd, 1968, by Dr. Martin Luther King. It was the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.
We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop … and I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”
Martin envisioned a better place for the people who had been enslaved and segregated, tied down and spit upon, in the wilderness of oppression. Joshua was called to take them to that place. And the Lord promised to be with Joshua, as He was with Moses. The short version of the background story – Moses had mentored the young Joshua during the wilderness journey, then the mature Joshua emerged as an Elder to lead the people across the iconic River Jordon. The application: the 20th century leadership, symbolized by Dr. King and others must make a similar transition to 21st Century leadership. Thus the question is begged – where and who are these “New Millennial Joshua’s”? And I am assured that names come to mind. But bear with me, please.
A young Senator Barack Obama, in 2007, addressed a Unity Breakfast, commemorating the Selma Voting Rights March.
“I’m here because somebody marched … I stand on the shoulders of giants. I thank the Moses generation, but we’ve got to remember now that Joshua had a job to do …
There are still battles that need to be fought; some rivers that need to be crossed … so the question, I guess, that I have … what is called of us in this Joshua generation?”
Let us take a look the black church, in particular, and we see, at least, a couple of post-Civil Rights generations that, quite frankly, have discontinued ties with the traditional church establishment; they left the church of their parents. In exit interviews the resounding pronouncements included comments like “irrelevant,” like “boring,” and “stuck.” So tragic! The black Mother Church, historic cradle of social progress, lost her babies. And what has become of these children.
They grew up, but are they fulfilling the mandates of the metaphoric Joshua generation? Have they found other assemblies to nurture themselves from which they can build bridges of progress? I am closing with questions, not answers.
In 2020, as a result of the pandemic, the church with its aging membership was forced to leave the building. We have been forced to adapt. Here we are attempting to worship and to do church in cyberspace.
What is interesting is that both Moses and Joshua generations are in the same space. Moses forced to adapt; however, this has been the hangout for Joshua for more than a decade. Can we reassemble the people on the internet, and lead us into a new reality, through virtual worship, through virtual ministry, through virtual followers and friends?
Some churches are worshipping in parking lots, truly taking their ministry to the streets. People from all walks can show up without dressing up. Might this old time way of gathering be a new style of Church assembly
We have seen and have been on the rough side of the mountain in recent times. Pandemic, Racial Unrest, Economic Collapse, Insurrection. A wilderness Experience. But we call out to you Joshua’s, wherever you are. The bridges have been built, the roads have opened. Our time is now to fulfill the dream. I think we can. I believe we can. I know we can. Yes we can!


Now a black woman poised to become the first female VP. Imagine!

Easy Conversation

In January 2009 we spent a few days in Orlando. The eyes of America were on Washington to witness the inauguration of the first African American president. But my wife and I went to Orlando [??? We had some free rooms through some promotion … How quirky – this historic day was our mini-vacation day in Orlando.]

We watched the Inauguration near the downtown Orlando library. The local TV station had set up jumbo screens. It was almost as cold there as in Washington – we were bundled, drinking warm stuff, and cheering with the others gathered. Many of them had come to Orlando, Florida, for warm sun and Disney make belief. My spouse, Barbara, was so cold she had to slip into the bathroom and add some layers of clothing.

In downtown Orlando we no longer had to wait for a cold day in hell to see America’s first…

View original post 15 more words