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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, August 21, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him. (NRSV)

Wow! What to write here? After reading and rereading, a pretty straightforward message finally came. God graciously blesses us so that (for God) we can share God’s blessings throughout the world.

Growing up an African American on Chicago’s Southside during the 1960s, my brother, friends, and I saw on television what appeared to be great blessings for white people that were different for us—nice cars, nice homes, vacation trips—you know, “Leave it to Beaver” and the like. Most times, though, we weren’t consciously aware we didn’t have much, probably because the lack of physical possessions didn’t mean we weren’t blessed. We had many blessings. We had the love of family and friends; we had our church. Mom taught us to use our blessings to praise God through mission for others. This was evident in her efforts for civil rights during the 1960s and her contributions to our church’s ministries.

What is so joyous about this psalm is that it includes all peoples and all nations. How comforting to know that we don’t have to do anything to deserve God’s blessings. In fact, as a sinner, I don’t deserve anything good. Yet, God’s grace still shines upon us all—this, so that we may use God’s gifts to spread God’s promise of redemption to all peoples, everywhere.

Psalm 67 reminds me that God has blessed me with all that I have—all abilities, all possessions, health, love, friends, everything. My continual challenge is to discern how to use these gifts to contribute to the good of others, so that all may know of God’s grace.

Lord God, let us praise you for your bountiful blessings. May we use them helping others so that all the earth will know you and your abundant grace. Amen.

Written by Ken Gaines, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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