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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 107

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   for his steadfast love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
   those he redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
   from the east and from the west,
   from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
   finding no way to an inhabited town;
hungry and thirsty,
   their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he delivered them from their distress;
he led them by a straight way,
   until they reached an inhabited town.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he satisfies the thirsty,
   and the hungry he fills with good things.
Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
   prisoners in misery and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God,
   and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;
   they fell down, with no one to help.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress;
he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
   and broke their bonds asunder.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
For he shatters the doors of bronze,
   and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were sick through their sinful ways,
   and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
   and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he saved them from their distress;
he sent out his word and healed them,
   and delivered them from destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
   and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.

Some went down to the sea in ships,
   doing business on the mighty waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
   his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
   which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven,
   they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
   they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
   and were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
   and he brought them out from their distress;
he made the storm be still,
   and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they had quiet,
   and he brought them to their desired haven.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
   for his wonderful works to humankind.
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
   and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

He turns rivers into a desert,
   springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste,
   because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water,
   a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry live,
   and they establish a town to live in;
they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
   and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
   and he does not let their cattle decrease.

When they are diminished and brought low
   through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
he pours contempt on princes
   and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
but he raises up the needy out of distress,
   and makes their families like flocks.
The upright see it and are glad;
   and all wickedness stops its mouth.
Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
   and consider the steadfast love of the Lord. (NRSV)

Reflection
There are many who hold the view that original sin is a clinging to a perception of separation. Human beings often believe they are self-sufficient, on their own, and need to figure things out independently. This attitude and the resulting actions humans take are often the result of wounding, fear, codependency, arrogance, or pride. I can relate to this. There are times I have acted as if it were all up to me, usually when under a great deal of stress.

In Psalm 107, several scenarios are given where the people are acting afraid and separate from God. They wander in the desert, are hungry and thirsty, sit in darkness and gloom, are rebellious, refusing to eat, nearing death, imprisoned, and tossed on the sea. In each scenario, the tone changes as soon as they cry out for help. Immediately God responds by saving them from distress by healing, calming, guiding, leading, feeding, and providing living water. This human crying out or surrender to love is remembering that it is in God that we exist and we are always in connection.

Prayer
Dear God, may we be wise to accept the love offered to us each and every day. Help us to trust that this grace will be sufficient, abundant, and specific to our need. All that is required is that we ask for help and remember our connection. Thank you for your steadfast love. Amen.

Written by Susan Schemper, Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being


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