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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 54

Save me, O God, by your name,
   and vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
   give ear to the words of my mouth.

For the insolent have risen against me,
   the ruthless seek my life;
   they do not set God before them.

But surely, God is my helper;
   the Lord is the upholder of my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
   In your faithfulness, put an end to them.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;
   I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from every trouble,
   and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. (NRSV)

At different times in my life I’ve had different interpretations of who “my enemies” are. To be honest, I’ve often stumbled over this language in this psalm and others; my day-to-day existence is fairly calm and, viewed objectively, always has been. My emotions, however, are not, and so usually I’ve read this thinking about the enemies of my psyche: the fears, anxieties, and habits that hold me back and keep me from living my full life.

Then something like Pulse happens, and I know it could have been me in that club. Or Las Vegas, and you at that concert. Or I hear about the scores of missing indigenous women, or the murders of transgender people, or our legal system used to endanger the powerless, and I know there are people who seek death and destruction in this world.

It’s so easy to feel frozen, and small, and powerless in the face of such hatred.

Then I think about the power of God. About the miracle that we are here on this green earth at all. That despite our best efforts to do so we haven’t managed to kill ourselves off yet. And I know that, with God’s grace and despite those who seek death, I will reach out for everything that gives me life and strength and hope—rhythm and story, prayer and protest—and I will take that to feed my voice, strengthen my hands, and then on to whomever will take it forward. And I give thanks to God for my life and all who are here.

God who is my help and my salvation, I praise you for your glory and for your gifts of spirit, spread throughout this glorious world. May I always be strengthened by them to do your will. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life

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