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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
     I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
     in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
     on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
     whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
     the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
     who executes justice for the oppressed;
     who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
     the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
     the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
     he upholds the orphan and the widow,
     but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever,
     your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord! (NRSV)

Reflection
Timothy White, one of the chief editors at Rolling Stone in the 1980s, was once quoted as saying that “familiarity breeds a kind of complacency.” I once utilized Psalm 146 in a prayer service, only to discover that those in attendance had heard this psalm dozens of times in this service before. My heart sank because I wasn’t being “original”; something new wasn’t being revealed. In an age of twenty-four-hour news networks, when breaking news becomes old news before the sun sets, we become accustomed to and perhaps even demand an onslaught of “new.” Things we have seen before become glossed over in an effort to acquire new information.

The words of Psalm 146 do not qualify as new. Many of us may have even skipped over the psalm in the interest of what the reflection will be (a practice I have been guilty of on occasion . . .).  Our familiarity with the joyous words of Psalm 146 can indeed breed complacency. And yet, we should never confuse breaking news with the Good News. The words of this psalm have endured because they are continually springing anew: God is setting the prisoners free, opening the eyes of the blind, and lifting up those bowed down. Let us indeed “praise the Lord!” for this continual gift!

Prayer
Dear Lord, help remind me that things don’t need to be new to teach me. Help me rediscover your voice in the gift of scripture, especially in passages that I think I know all too well. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Minister for Children and Families

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