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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, August 15, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 145:14–21

The Lord upholds all who are falling,
   and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
   satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
   and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
   he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
   but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
   and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever. (NRSV)

Reflection
I find that I frequently need to remind myself not to take the words of the psalmist literally. If I don’t remind myself of that, the analytical part of me immediately jumps to arguing with the psalmist about whether the statements are true. For example, we all know that not everyone looks to God or even believes in God, so how can the psalmist say “the eyes of all look to you”?

When I push myself to read the psalms through a less literal lens, I find them much more inspiring. Take the first line of this passage, for example. The literal side of me wants to argue with the psalmist about the claim that the Lord upholds all who are falling. How can that possibly be true in the midst of a global pandemic when people “falling” means things like losing loved ones, getting evicted, suffering from loneliness and despair, or agonizing over what to do with their children this school year?

But if I broaden my interpretation of that line, I find myself asking a different question: what does it look like for the Lord to uphold all who are falling? Uphold could mean “to prevent from falling,” but it could also mean “support.” I could read that line as affirmation that even when bad things are happening, the Lord is present with me and that I can find strength and support in God.

Prayer                                                  
Supporting and sustaining God, may I continue to find inspiration and comfort in the knowledge that you are always with me, even when I’m falling. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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