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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

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 broken-hearted,
    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)

In this psalm, as elsewhere in the Bible, there is a pattern of moving from large to small when naming those who come under God’s care. From stars to ravens. From a nation in exile to brokenhearted individuals.

This is good news for you and for me. In all the abundance of creation, I am not outside God’s circle of care. 

And it is not my strength or my power that is treasured, but my devotion to the Lord.

I need to remember this, just a few short weeks after making New Year’s goals that I may already be struggling to hold on to.

I do believe I have a responsibility to take care of myself and to grow where I can, so that I in turn may help others heal and grow. I believe many of us feel the same way. The goals we choose to pursue this growth will look very different for each of us.

But in all our striving, once our basic needs are met, everything else is just . . . details. 

Precious, meaningful, life-enhancing details perhaps (every feather on the smallest sparrow is a wonder of design).

But these details are not what make us beloved in the eyes of God.

“No. The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love” (Common English Bible).

Creator God, may I always sing your praises. May I not be so caught up in my goals, as worthy as they may be, that I forget the end purpose of those goals: to better love you and your creation, always and everywhere. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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