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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, September 3, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 125

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
   which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
   so the Lord surrounds his people,
   from this time on and forevermore.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
   on the land allotted to the righteous,
so that the righteous might not stretch out
   their hands to do wrong.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
   and to those who are upright in their hearts.
But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways
   the Lord will lead away with evildoers.
   Peace be upon Israel! (NRSV)

Reflection
This psalm asserts that “the Lord surrounds his people, from this time on and forevermore. . . . Those who turn aside to their own crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers.” It reminds me of words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Dr. King was quoting Theodore Parker, a Unitarian minister born in 1810 who called for the abolition of slavery in the United States. One of his sermons, published in 1853, said,

“Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe. The arc is a long one; my eye reaches but a little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice. Things refuse to be mismanaged long. Jefferson trembled when he thought of slavery and remembered that God is just. Ere long all America will tremble.”

Our nation still suffers from systemic racism. History doesn’t evolve in a straight, upward line of progress. It is more like a river that sometimes bends back on itself. Some days I don’t have much optimism in humanity, but my hope is kept alive in God, in what God has done and promises to do. From what we see—and beyond what we can see—God is leading people toward justice. May we trust in the Lord and thus be like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever.

Prayer
Help me trust, God of justice and truth, that light is stronger than darkness, love is stronger than hate, and goodness is stronger than evil. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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