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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, November 28, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 75

We give thanks to you, O God;
   we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.

At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.

When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep its pillars steady.

I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
   and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
   or speak with insolent neck.”

For not from the east or from the west
   and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
but it is God who executes judgment,
   putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
   with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
   and all the wicked of the earth
   shall drain it down to the dregs.
But I will rejoice forever;
   I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
   but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted. (NRSV)

This psalm definitely has a word for our time—a time in which many of us have put ourselves in the seat of judgment over our fellow kin. Many of us have taken it upon ourselves to determine who and what are good and faithful, deserving praise, and who or what are not, deserving condemnation. It reminds me of Anne Lamott’s wonderful pithy saying that “you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Indeed.

One of the gifts of this psalm is the reminder that God is the only one who sits as Judge. God is the only one who will ultimately decide what is good and faithful and what is not. Making those decisions is not in your human job description, nor is it in mine. On my good days, I find that wonderfully freeing. On my grouchy days, I want to quibble with it. But in a time when the judgement of others tends to come quickly and ruthlessly at the first sign of a mistake, I appreciate this reminder.

God, I am glad you are the only one who will have the last word, for I trust that last word will be mercy and life. Allow that to free me up to live more fully out of a sense of your love. Amen.

Written by Shannon J. Kershner, Pastor

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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