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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
   do not let me be put to shame;
   do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
   let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
   for you are the God of my salvation;
   for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
   for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
   according to your steadfast love remember me,
   for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;
   therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
   and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
   for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

For your name’s sake, O Lord,
   pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who are they that fear the Lord?
He will teach them the way that they should choose.

They will abide in prosperity,
   and their children shall possess the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
   and he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
   for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart,
   and bring me out of my distress.
Consider my affliction and my trouble,
   and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes,
   and with what violent hatred they hate me.
O guard my life, and deliver me;
   do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all its troubles. (NRSV)

Often when I am reading a biblical passage to prepare for a sermon or a devotion I read the scripture to get a sense of the message as a whole. Then I read it again and see if any particular lines stand out to me or hit a nerve. Generally there’s at least one, and that’s usually where I begin my work of interpreting the text. In this psalm on this particular day, the line that stands out to me is “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways.” Maybe that line strikes me because I was just looking through old Facebook photos from my college days. Or perhaps it’s because lately I’ve been thinking about how much I’ve grown just in this past year—my first year of ministry.

Sometimes when we think about who we’ve been in the past—times when we’ve messed up or just been misguided—we wish we could erase those parts of our history. But whatever the psalmist or we might wish, God doesn’t forget those parts of us. Neither does God reject those parts of us. The faithfulness of God’s love—which the psalmist references in verse 10—walks with us through all the stages and moments of our lives. Through good times and really hard times, through epic mistakes and powerful transformations. God’s grace extends to every inch of who we are and who we’ve been, because what makes us worthwhile is not how good we are or what we achieve. What makes us worthwhile is that God has created us in love and loves us always. Let us seek to love ourselves and one another with the same grace that God offers us.

Amazing God, we give you thanks that you have created us in love and that you love us just as we are. Help us to be our best selves, but also to love ourselves and others with grace. Amen.

Written by Layton Williams, Pastoral Resident

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