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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 1

Happy are those
   who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
   or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
   planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
   and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
   but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked will perish. (NRSV)

Psalm 1 acknowledges that there is good and evil in the world; there is righteousness and wickedness. It also promises that following the path of righteousness will bear good fruit. A person who does the right thing will be nourished like a tree is nourished when it grows near a stream of water. Choosing to do the right thing, no matter how difficult, will nourish us like a stream nourishes fruit trees.

It doesn’t always seem to work that way, though, does it? Sometimes we “do the right thing” but it does not seem to bear fruit. One other phrase that jumps out at me in this psalm is “in its season.” Trees planted by streams of water “yield their fruit in its season.” Perhaps when our actions don’t seem to bear good fruit we are not in the right season. Perhaps there is a period of ripening that we have to go through in order to wait for completion.

The scripture promises us that the choice and the action of walking down the path of rightness will bear fruit but only in the season that fruit comes to maturity. This is how we get the word fruition—to bring to maturity. There is a season of ripening that comes after right actions have been taken.

If we want our actions and our choices to bear good fruit, then, like fruit trees, we will need to plant ourselves by streams of water and let things take their course. What is the stream that will nourish you? Where do you plant yourself to get sustenance during the period of ripening? Do you have the patience for the tiny buds to slowly blossom into flowers? Do you have the perseverance to stand tall by the river of God’s love and rightness while the blossoms transmute into fruit and grow plump with sweetness?

God of all seasons, give me patience and perseverance to walk in your ways, meditating on what is right and good. Nourish me for the journey so I may bear good fruit in your world. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

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