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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
   and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
   their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
   and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
   and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
   and its circuit to the end of them;
   and nothing is hid from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
   reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
   making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
   rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
   enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
   enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
   and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
   even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
   and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is your servant warned;
   in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can detect their errors?
   Clear me from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
   do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
   and innocent of great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
   be acceptable to you,
   O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (NRSV)

Psalm 19 concludes with the words that the pastors and choir members of Fourth Church pray together every Sunday morning before the worship services begin: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Only we change “my” to “our.”

When we as worship leaders pray this together we are asking that, during the worship service, what we think, say, and sing will, at best, bring glory to God and, at the least, do no harm. We are expressing our hope that we don’t get in the way for God’s Spirit to move in our midst, so that we can be instruments for God to transform the hearts of all who gather. When the psalmist wrote these words, he was praying that in his daily life, in an ongoing way, the words he spoke and the reflections of his heart would be acceptable to God.

In today’s news we often find references to a “moral compass” and someone “losing his way.” The prayer of Psalm 19 reveals our moral compass as people of faith. We are to measure our actions, our choices, even our private thoughts by whether or not they are acceptable to God. This prayer also acknowledges that we need guidance and strength from God to stay on track. God is our rock, the strong foundation for our living. God is our redeemer, who frees us from captivity to wrongdoing. May this be our prayer, every day.

As the heavens tell your glory, O God, and the firmament proclaims your handiwork, so may my life shine forth your love and righteousness. Make clear your precepts, and guide me to follow them, that my life may be pleasing in your sight. Amen.

Written by Victoria G. Curtiss, Associate Pastor for Mission

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