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Saturday, April 23, 2016
Today’s Reading | Psalm 89
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.’”
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.
Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
“I have set the crown on one who is mighty,
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found my servant David;
with my holy oil I have anointed him;
my hand shall always remain with him;
my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him,
the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
I will set his hand on the sea
and his right hand on the rivers.
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
I will make him the firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
and my covenant with him will stand firm.
I will establish his line forever,
and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
If his children forsake my law
and do not walk according to my ordinances,
if they violate my statutes
and do not keep my commandments,
then I will punish their transgression with the rod
and their iniquity with scourges;
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
or be false to my faithfulness.
I will not violate my covenant,
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie to David.
His line shall continue forever,
and his throne endure before me like the sun.
It shall be established forever like the moon,
an enduring witness in the skies.”
But now you have spurned and rejected him;
you are full of wrath against your anointed.
You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
you have defiled his crown in the dust.
You have broken through all his walls;
you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
All who pass by plunder him;
he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
you have made all his enemies rejoice.
Moreover, you have turned back the edge of his sword,
and you have not supported him in battle.
You have removed the scepter from his hand,
and hurled his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him with shame.
How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how short my time is—
for what vanity you have created all mortals!
Who can live and never see death?
Who can escape the power of Sheol?
Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
Remember, O Lord, how your servant is taunted;
how I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples,
with which your enemies taunt, O Lord,
with which they taunted the footsteps of your anointed.
Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen and Amen. (NRSV)
Again and again in these verses for today the psalmist leads us in singing of faithfulness. Deep, abiding, everlasting faithfulness. We sometimes think of that word as defining our relationship with God, yet in these verses it is not our faithfulness that we celebrate but that of God.
We join the psalmist in singing of a God who again and again has demonstrated faithfulness to us. A God who makes, rather than extracts, promises—and then keeps them. We rejoice in a God who promises to love, forgive, and be with us always, not because of something we have agreed to do or be, but simply because God has promised to do so. Because God has called us and named us his children, bestowing on us unending love. Grace.
We lift our voices in marveling song that our God is a God who is steadfastly faithful and loving, is a God whose creation stretches from north to south, from deepest sea to highest mountain, from earth to the farthest reaches of heaven—and yet whose kingdom rests on a foundation not of created wonder but of justice and righteousness.
Ours is a God who calms the raging seas, bringing order out of chaos. Who blesses Abraham and Sarah with a child, bringing life out of barrenness, establishing unending generations, guiding them with a shepherd king. Who showers us with steadfast love and faithfulness, without condition. And we—how can we not let our very lives forever sing of justice and righteousness, of God’s never-ending love and faithfulness?
Ground my life in the sure foundation of your justice and righteousness, O Lord, that the songs I sing and the life I live may be to your praise, today and always. Secure in your steadfast and certain love, O God, I pray. Amen.
Written by Ann Rehfeldt, Director of Communications
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