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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 147:1–11

Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
     for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
     he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted,
     and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
     he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
     his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
     he casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
     make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
     prepares rain for the earth,
     makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the animals their food,
     and to the young ravens when they cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
     nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
     in those who hope in his steadfast love. (NRSV)


Reflection

Reading Psalm 147, I was struck by the amazing character of our God: a God who builds up Jerusalem, gathers the outcasts of Israel, heals the brokenhearted, whose understanding is beyond measure, who does not delight in the strength of the horse or the speed of the runner. What can our response be to such action other than to praise the Lord! But how often do you take time to praise the Lord? This language seems old-fashioned and quaint to us. We are bombarded by news of political protests, revolts, and economic downturn. So giving God thanks for what we have and praising God may be at the bottom of many of our lists. But those living in the world of the psalmist, the first audience for these words, were no strangers to protests and revolts and economic downturns. And yet in the midst of all of this, at scales much greater than what we experience today, they were called to praise the Lord. So today wherever we are, let us be reminded that God takes pleasure in those who revere him, “in those who hope in his steadfast love.” This love is always there for us. It is an unconditional love that we do not even have to earn. For this, the greatest gift, praise the Lord!


Prayer

Loving God, the psalmist reminds us that you determine the number of stars and give names to them all. You prepare rain for the earth and make grass grow on the hills. Even though we may begin to get fearful, you always provide for us. You do not judge us by worldly standards. The speed of the runner does not matter to you. So open my heart to your steadfast love. Open my heart to feel your love and be transformed into a person of hope. Amen.


Written by Liz Nickerson, Director of Congregational Parent Outreach


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