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Monday, February 3, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 117–118
Praise the Lord, all you nations!  
     Extol him, all you peoples!  
For great is his steadfast love toward us,  
     and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  
Praise the Lord!

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;  
     his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say,
     “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
     “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say,
     “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;  
     the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.  
     What can mortals do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
     I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord  
     than to put confidence in mortals.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
     than to put confidence in princes.

All nations surrounded me;
     in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;  
     in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees;  
     they blazed like a fire of thorns;  
     in the name of the Lord I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
     but the Lord helped me.
The Lord is my strength and my might;
     he has become my salvation

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:  
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
     the right hand of the Lord is exalted;  
     the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,  
     and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,  
     but he did not give me over to death.  

Open to me the gates of righteousness,  
     that I may enter through them  
     and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;  
     the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me  
     and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected  
     has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;  
     it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;  
     let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!  
     O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.  
     We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,  
     and he has given us light.  
Bind the festal procession with branches,  
     up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
     you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,  
     for his steadfast love endures forever. (NRSV)  

Reflection
It seems like nothing really lasts anymore. We live in a disposable society, where disposable products champion longevity. I always laugh when I read warranties that are for one year. Let’s hope something will last one year! But indeed, the idea of the useful life of objects has changed. My mother constantly laments that really good household appliances used to last her forty to fifty years and were better than today’s, which last about five. Our disposable society has also affected our relationships. Staying with the same company for five years is now considered a long time. Some say a person will have an average of six careers in their lifetime, and the divorce rate for first marriages is 41 percent.

What then will last? Amidst all this transience, Psalm 118 offers a powerful reminder to us. It both begins and ends with the same words: “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever.” It goes on to say, “The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can mortals do to me? The Lord is on my side to help me.” So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed, remember these powerful words. The Lord’s faithfulness will last forever; it is the rock that you can build your life upon. It will not change, and because of that, we have nothing to fear.

Prayer
Merciful God, the psalmist reminds me that your steadfast love endures forever. Help me live my life with this confidence, so that even if nothing else around me seems to last, I will know that your love will sustain and guide me. Amen.

Written by Liz Nickerson, Family Ministry Coordinator 


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