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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, October 19, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 104:1–9, 24, 35c

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
   O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
   wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
   you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your chariot,
   you ride on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers,
   fire and flame your ministers.

You set the earth on its foundations,
   so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
   the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
   at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys
   to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
   so that they might not again cover the earth.

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
   In wisdom you have made them all;
   the earth is full of your creatures.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

That’s how this psalm begins and ends. Everything that comes between those two verses is a recitation of all the marvels that God has created and the amazing feats that God does every day.

Though our understanding of science probably means that our cosmic vision differs from the psalmist’s, it is still pretty cool to think about how our souls might bless God.

A blessing means something different depending on which way the arrows are going. When we ask God (or anyone) to bless us and our endeavors, we are asking for help. Be it our health or a journey or a project or a prayer, we are asking for gaps to be filled, for less to become more. When we bless God, we are praising and thanking and acknowledging who is Creator and who is creature.

As we ponder this psalm, at the close of the work or school week for many of us, it could suggest a reflective task for which a weekend, particularly the sabbath, seems made.

Begin with “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Then list as many instances as you can think of where you saw God’s creative power at work over the last week. Maybe go back over the news of the past few days to look at global, national, and local events. Consider the communities to which you belong and what happened among and between members recently. Go to your journal or “to-do” list to remember what transpired in your heart and mind. And then close with “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”

How different would my week feel if I stopped, like the author of Psalm 104, to give credit where credit is due?

Bless the Lord, O my soul. Amen.

Written by Susan Quaintance, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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