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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 89:1–18

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
     with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
     your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
     I have sworn to my servant David:
‘I will establish your descendants forever,
     and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
     your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
     Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
     great and awesome above all that are around him?
O Lord God of hosts,
     who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
     Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
     when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
     you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
     the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
The north and the south—you created them;
     Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
You have a mighty arm;
     strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
     steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
     who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
     and extol your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength;
     by your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
     our king to the Holy One of Israel. (NRSV)


Reading this psalm, the word that kept jumping out at me was faithfulness. Then I noticed the first line: “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever.” As one who has had the great fortune to be given the opportunity to come into a family business, I find that much has been passed down to me from previous generations. In 1892, my great grandfather founded a church music publishing company and called it Hope, presumably because that was all he had. In 1923 when my grandfather was running the business, William Runyan, the music editor, wrote the tune “Faithfulness” to Thomas Chisholm’s text, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” This beloved hymn continues to be Hope’s most well-known song, and when it was suggested that we sing it at my mother’s funeral a few years ago, I recall my father saying, “Well, we should. It’s the family hymn.” With this in mind the second line of Psalm 89 takes on new meaning as well.


Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see
all I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
join with all nature in manifold witness,
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.


By Thomas O. Chisholm 

Words © 1923, Ren. 1951 Hope Publishing Company

Reflection written by John Shorney, Fourth Church Member

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