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Monday, February 4, 2013
Today’s Reading | Psalm 145
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you,
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall laud your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words,
and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling,
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever. (NRSV)
I have the great joy of serving Fourth Presbyterian Church as Associate Pastor for Evangelism. The core of my call to ministry in this community is the task of inviting people from all backgrounds and every neighborhood to participate in the exciting things going on here and try to find a place in this congregation where they can live out their relationship to God.
As much creative license as I am given in my work, there are things I’m often told to stay away from: Don’t mention the word evangelism. Don’t go too heavy on the talk about God or Jesus with people who have been hurt by past church experiences. Don’t expect people to change their daily schedules or major time commitments to respond to opportunities to engage in spiritual practices. Good practical advice for all of us who are seeking to save the practice of organized religion from permanent relegation to the sidelines of respectable society.
What a stark contrast, then, do we find between this worldly wisdom about spreading the message of Jesus Christ and God and the exuberant praise of our psalm for today! How can we reconcile the call to vocal, unrelenting, completely committed worship of our creator, redeemer, and sustainer with the staid, reasonable, and safely ambivalent ways in which the world around us teaches us to express our views? More than our own enthusiastic worship and praise, the psalmist expects all of creation to join in. Does our own faith have room for a love and worship of God this large and loud?
God, my maker—you who deserve joyful and unending praise—free me from the bonds of society’s expectations and my own self-consciousness, so that I might more fully proclaim a story of my love for you. Through my words, and especially through my actions, may people receive a story about you that does not push them away but draws them more fully into communion with your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Written by Hardy H. Kim, Associate Pastor for Evangelism
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