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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 45:1–2, 6–9

My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
   I address my verses to the king;
   my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

You are the most handsome of men;
   grace is poured upon your lips;
   therefore God has blessed you forever.

Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
   Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;
   you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
   with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
   your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
   daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
   at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. (NRSV)

Reflection
“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; you love righteousness and hate wickedness.”

Walking along the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, where Fourth Presbyterian Church is located, one sees incredible displays of wealth in store windows, in the clothing and jewelry people wear, and by the cars people drive. The world comes to this stretch of Michigan Avenue to shop and look even more dazzling than they already are, hence the nickname for the street. Yet there is another side of the Magnificent Mile that is too easy to ignore: the people begging for food, money, or support of any kind. There is a man who often stands a block or so from the church shouting, “Can anyone help? Can anyone help?” He shouts it over and over, and no one pays any attention. The rich and not-so-rich all walk by him as if he were not there. I too walk by him and offer only a silent prayer but nothing else.

The inequity of it all is staggering, bewildering. Where is God’s royal scepter of equity here? How can so few have so much while so many have so little? How can we as a country spend so much on weapons but not afford quality education for all that seek it? How can we as a country justify denying healthcare to those in need while others live in extravagant luxury? The inequity and inequality gap becomes wider and at the same time harder to ignore, harder to sustain. Yet in God’s eyes we are all equal, each a child of God, each person of the same value, blessed beyond even our wildest imaginings.

Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; you love righteousness and hate wickedness.

Prayer
Creating and sustaining God, who loves righteousness and hates wickedness, guide us to a more perfect day of righteousness ending all wickedness. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

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