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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, October 29, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
   we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
   and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
   “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
   and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
   like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears
   reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
   bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
   carrying their sheaves. (NRSV)
There are a few days in my memory I look back on and say, that was one of the happiest days of my life. Maybe it was a celebration, connecting with friends or loved ones, or starting a new life journey. You probably have similar days you reflect on, remembering how joyful you were. That’s not the type of joy today’s psalm is talking about.

You probably have at least one person in your life who exudes so much happiness that sometimes, you question their sincerity. When so much pain and hurt exists in our world, it can be refreshing to have someone around who has a positive outlook no matter what and who always seems happy despite their own challenges. That consistent, genuine joy you witness in those individuals—that’s not the type of joy today’s psalm is referring to either.

The type of joy in today’s psalm is comparable to living out a dream. Total and utter happiness, in every inch of your soul and being. And how is that possible? Through complete restoration gifted by God.

Obtaining that type of joy sounds incredible but maybe a little impossible at the same time. But if we really open ourselves up to the idea that God can provide this joy, allowing ourselves to put our faith in God to restore us beyond any joy or happiness we’ve known, our lives might seem fuller, more genuine, and, most importantly, closer to God.

God of full life, guide us toward you, restoring our faith that you alone can bring us complete joy. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens Harris, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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