Do I say or act in my heart of hearts as if there is no God? Do I enjoy watching corrupt and scandalous stories on TV?
There is no one good, but God.
God I know you see me clearly, you know my thoughts and motivations. You know that all too often I chose to relax rather than discipline myself in seeking you.
There is no one good but God.
We have all joined together with Adam and Eve and ignored your bountiful gifts in order to lust and lie over the forbidden and ungiven.
Do I call to God when I need help, or do I make a phone call?
Do I use my friends and use them up? Do I act swiftly on my selfish desires?
There is no one good but God.
When I think of God’s righteousness and his requirements, does it fill me with dread? Am I overwhelmed by how God asks me to live?
Do I work with or against those who are acting righteously?
You are my guide, your Spirit plants goodness in me.
Your fruit grows in my heart—kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control
—and your salvation is near.
Restore me. Restore my heart and restore my actions to align with your goodness
and the good you’ve done for me.
I was challenged in looking at this Psalm to see myself as the wicked and not righteous. Because I really didn’t want to, I thought I should. And as usual, I am glad I did.
S. Jewell S. McGhee
Jewell is an artist who has come to be known also as an author. She often writes a reflection to go with her art pieces and has been paraphrasing the psalms for many years.
About the Artist
S. Jewell S. McGhee likes to call her art “painting with pencils.” She first started using colored pencils to help her mother write names on lunch bags for school. “My mom would pick matching themes for the names on our bags; all balloons, or sunrises, or sometimes just geometric shapes. She always made them so beautiful; a plain brown bag lunch was, all at once, a love note, a story, a hug, and simple colors to enlighten us for the rest of the day.” These bags also became a constant reminder that art was simple, attainable, and a necessary part of every day.
“I always start with a story.” Every time you hear a story you have a physical (tears, a chuckle, or a smile) or mental (confusion, contentment) reaction which is unable to be explained in words alone. “I like to use abstract art as a medium to dive deeply into the complicated mess of a story and discover something more about it and about myself.” She follows the flow of a story and finds the shapes and colors that express its fundamental emotions and questions.
Jewell uses her art to interpret the stories of Shakespeare, the newspaper, the Bible, and her own life. “As I grapple with Hamlet, I see lines-sharp and violent-cutting through relationships and into love. There is red: obviously for blood, but also for love (a riddle itself). A golden crown, a golden son; a golden sun breaking through ghosts, clouds, and lives to reveal blackness and blood.” How black is the blackness of hate? What texture is grace? What shape is confusion, or desperation, or promise? These are the questions these pieces ask.