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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, June 17, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 8

O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
   Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
   to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
   mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
   and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
   you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
   whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth! (NRSV)

What a wonderful way to start a Monday morning!

For many, Monday morning is the beginning of the work week. Psalm 8 is a helpful tool in framing what we should be about: whose we are, what our work is, and why we should do it confidently.

Praise is a good way to begin. Our God is more than we can imagine: more energy, more love, more justice, more mercy, more connection. Our Muslim brothers and sisters count ninety-nine names for God, and they are wonderful reminders of the attributes that we are to learn and emulate: “The Most Gracious,” “The Ultimate Provider of Peace,” “The All-Aware,” “The Steadfast,” “The Real.”

What God has created, we are to steward. How will we care for creation as we go through this week? How will we use (or misuse) air, water, earth? What about creatures—beasts, birds, fish—and our fellow human beings? According to the psalm, we have “been given rule of the works of [God’s] hands.” Our mandate, no matter what else is on this week’s to-do list, is the protection of God’s handiwork.

Think about that. It can seem daunting. But if God thinks we can do it, who are we to claim otherwise? Being “crowned with glory and honor” means that we have been given a share in God’s creative power. We have the ingenuity and compassion and perseverance to assess reality and solve problems. Claiming that power can help us commit, stay at the table, begin again—despite the obstacles and disappointments that may arise.

This week: bring it on.

O Lord, our Lord, though we do not have the words to praise you adequately, may our works of love and service show our gratitude for your care and our desire to share it with the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by Susan Quaintance, Director, Center for Life and Learning

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