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Friday, November 29, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
          before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
          and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
          for you have exalted your name and your word
          above everything.
On the day I called, you answered me,
          you increased my strength of soul.

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
          for they have heard the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
          for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
          but the haughty he perceives from far away.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
          you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
          and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
          your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
          Do not forsake the work of your hands. (NRSV)


Reflection

“With my whole heart.” Anytime I read something like that in the psalms, I think about the cost of faith. Cost? Yes, faith requires your heart, all of our being. This is the essence of an intimate God—we are invited into intimacy.

We struggle with that, don’t we? I know I do—not just with God. We shun vulnerability. We create defensive walls and sometimes for good reason. We don’t want to be fully known, not with all of our stuff. If we open up, we may fear that God, who says that we are loved, might not find us so loveable after all. Just imagine everyone else!

We put on a front to seem put together, but inside we’re at war with ourselves. Some of this comes out at the holidays as we sit at table with those we’ve sometimes been hurt by or whom we’ve wounded. It can sometimes look ugly.

God issues the call, not we, and we’re invited and welcome. God refuses to just be the divine counsel you seek when you’re in a bind, or the God for whom you perform social justice acts. God wants to be the God of all of you. This is precisely why life in the church invites you to give of your finances, your time, and your energy—because God calls your whole heart.

It is only when we open our whole heart to God that we can then open it up to others and to the world in such a way that our vulnerability becomes a strength based in the power of God’s love.


Prayer

God, help us to live with our whole heart as an act of faith, in response to your grace. Help us to do it when it’s most challenging and when we’re experiencing peace, so that our giving thanks might come from our whole heart. In your name. Amen.


Written by Edwin Estevez, Pastoral Resident

 


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