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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Today’s Reading | Psalm 89:1–18

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
   with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
   your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
   I have sworn to my servant David:
‘I will establish your descendants forever,
   and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord,
   your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord?
   Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord,
a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
   great and awesome above all that are around him?
O Lord God of hosts,
   who is as mighty as you, O Lord?
   Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging of the sea;
   when its waves rise, you still them.
You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
   you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
   the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
The north and the south—you created them;
   Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
You have a mighty arm;
   strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
   steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
   who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance;
they exult in your name all day long,
   and extol your righteousness.
For you are the glory of their strength;
   by your favor our horn is exalted.
For our shield belongs to the Lord,
   our king to the Holy One of Israel. (NRSV)

What would it be like if praise were a reflex, if praise were on the tip of our tongues?

This is how I imagine the psalmist. From the perspective of the psalmist, absolutely everything is ultimately praiseworthy. Whether something happens in nature or in history, whether its impact seems for you or against you, in the eyes of the psalmist it seems ultimately praiseworthy, because God alone is God and in the end God will redeem all things.

Something seems wrong about praising God only when things go well for us. And yet how can praise be on our lips when things are not going well? This is a question with which the psalmist—who without a doubt has suffered loss as well as gain, defeat as well as victory—has had to grapple. It is a question that cannot be avoided. If we are going to be mature in our faith, we have to learn to praise God in all circumstances and sometimes despite the circumstances.

God, I want to be mature in my faithfulness to you. No matter what happens to me, for me, or against me, help me to trust in you, for you alone are God, redeemer of all things. Amen.

Written by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life

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