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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
     and all that is within me,
     bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
     and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
     who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
     who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
     so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works vindication
     and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
     his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
     slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always accuse,
     nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
     nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
     so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
     so far he removes our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion for his children,
     so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
For he knows how we were made;
     he remembers that we are dust.

As for mortals, their days are like grass;
     they flourish like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
     and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
     on those who fear him,
     and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
     and remember to do his commandments.

The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
     and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
     you mighty ones who do his bidding,
     obedient to his spoken word.
Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
     his ministers that do his will.
Bless the Lord, all his works,
     in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul. (NRSV)


I am troubled by David’s command to “Bless the Lord.” The phrase “Bless the fill in the blank” has always made me uncomfortable. “Blessed are the blank” is OK by me, because it implies that God is doing the blessing. I only think of “blessing” when I visualize a queen bestowing something to a lowly servant, or possibly as something I’d say to a colleague who has just sneezed—certainly not something I would say to my Lord!

When I began reflecting on this devotion text, I was in the final week of preparation for a children’s musical. While trying to ponder David’s psalm and its meaning to me, all that I could hear running through my head was the relentless text of the closing song in the show. “Love the Lord” is the song’s title, and “love the Lord” is 99 percent of the text.

No wonder it was clogging my brain! Rather than trying to flush this distraction to better understand David’s command to bless the Lord, I finally figured out that I should just relax and listen. David’s command is as simple and as embedded as the songs we carry from our youth. Can you read the words “Jesus loves me” and not hear the tune in your head? It is right in front of me, ringing in my ears for a reason.

How can God love us so unconditionally? “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. For as a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made,” wonderfully and beautifully by God.


Bless the Lord, O my soul. Bless the Lord. Amen.

Written by Katy Sinclair, Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth

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