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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, October 19, 2019           

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 98             

O sing to the Lord a new song,
   for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
   have gotten him victory.
The Lord has made known his victory;
   he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
   to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
   the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
   break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
   with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
   make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
   the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
   let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
   to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
   and the peoples with equity.(NRSV)

Marvelous things. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some marvelous things. I am ready to sing a song of praise, to listen to music of celebration, to hear the earth roar and tremble with joy. I love the optimism of this psalm. The recognition of God’s kingdom. The anticipation of grace. 

But I am troubled. I look at the violence of the world around us; at poverty and racism and hate; at our good earth under siege; at dysfunctional government and at self-interest overwhelming human interest and I am troubled. How do I reconcile what is with what should be? 

Perhaps I should just lose myself in the poetry and promise of the psalm. That would be easy. Just shut out all of the badness and embrace the gladness. But I don’t think that’s what we have signed up for. I don’t think our discipleship allows us the luxury of blindness. By all means we can embrace the beauty of the lyrics and power of hope but not in isolation. 

This psalm is more than a song of praise; it’s a call to action. Our new song can be a cacophony of voice and sound raised to doing right. After all, God’s love is steadfast. Our God has shown us the way with the marvelous gift of grace. Now it’s up to us to write the new song.

Lord, hear my prayer that I find my voice to sing the new song. Lord, hear my prayer that we join in a chorus of hope. Lord, hear my prayer for the promise of your kingdom fulfilled. And let heaven and nature sing. Amen.

Written by Kenneth Ohr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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