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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 65    

Praise is due to you,
   O God, in Zion;
and to you shall vows be performed,
   O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.
When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,
   you forgive our transgressions.
Happy are those whom you choose and bring near
   to live in your courts.
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
   your holy temple.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,
   O God of our salvation;
you are the hope of all the ends of the earth
   and of the farthest seas.
By your strength you established the mountains;
   you are girded with might.
You silence the roaring of the seas,
   the roaring of their waves,
   the tumult of the peoples.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;
   you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it,
   you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
   you provide the people with grain,
   for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
   settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
   and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
   your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
   the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
   the valleys deck themselves with grain,
   they shout and sing together for joy. (NRSV)

From God creating a beautiful and wondrous world to forgiving our sins to providing an abundance of crops and sheep, this psalmist has a long list of blessings to give thanks for.

Two things strike me about this psalm. One, there is no mention of enemies. Most of the psalms I’ve read include at least one verse either thanking God for, or asking God for, deliverance from enemies. Two, it doesn’t include any prayers of supplication. The psalmist doesn’t ask for one single thing. Again, most of the psalms I’ve read include at least one verse asking God for continued protection or for a need to be met. This psalm is entirely focused on praise.

These days, you can turn on any media outlet and within just a few minutes you’ll be bombarded with discussions of enemies—a negative political ad, another unarmed black man shot by police, an update on the unrest in the Middle East, another heart-wrenching story of innocent lives lost in a terrorist attack, the list goes on. There are plenty of good and righteous prayers of supplication to lift up for our broken world—not to mention what’s happening in our own lives. And we should absolutely pray for those things.

But let us not forget to take the time to reflect on the good in our world and in our lives and to thank God for those blessings.

Lord, in the midst of this broken and pain-filled world, help us to see moments of your love and the abundance of your blessings. Shine your light through us so that others might see you through our words and our actions. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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