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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
   Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
   and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
   and do no evil to their friends,
   nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
   but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
   and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things shall never be moved.  (NRSV)

I must confess, when I first encountered this psalm—and even now on first reading—I feel it as exclusionary. I get caught on the phrase “those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right.” I may wish to live blamelessly at all times and in all things, but I know all too well that I fall short. Often.

And all too often the Bible has been used as a weapon wielded against anyone not “right.” Against people as they are, and not what they do. I’ve been enough on the receiving end of this use to instinctively draw back when I see that kind of language—have been told enough that there’s no room for me in God’s kingdom.

But the rest of this psalm specifically calls out actions to avoid—lying, betraying friends, insulting neighbors, perpetuating economic injustice—and lifts up actions to embrace. Actions—not beliefs or personal identity. This is a tent I can seek to abide in; that is a hill I am ready to climb.

God, give me strength for the journey and faith in my steps. And may I ever look to your love to guide me. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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