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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 21, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 82

God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
    maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding;
    they walk around in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I say, “You are gods,
    children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals
    and fall like any prince.”

Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
    for all the nations belong to you! (NRSV)

Reflection
The first time our whole family attended Fourth Church was for a Family Christmas Eve service circa 2011. I don’t remember all the details, but it was set up as a dialogue between an angel and an archangel. As the narrative was unfolding, telling of God’s plan for sending Jesus to live among humans, bringing grace, the angel kept interrupting to ask when she could “smite them” (meaning us humans), only to be reminded that that’s not what Jesus intended for the outcome.

I empathize with the angel in the skit in wanting to right wrongs through strong actions, and it’s clear the writer of Psalm 82 does as well. The psalmist reminds me, however, that it’s God’s responsibility to judge the nations. Instead, my role in seeking justice is to care for those in my community and beyond who need care, protection, and resources.

And even more, to actively remember that in sending grace, God expects me to extend that grace to others. Not that I shouldn’t see the injustices in the world and seek to right them, but that the avenue for me to do so is not through judging others, but through compassion and grace. In a time of strong political rhetoric, it’s especially important to step back and see what my role is in the world—not to judge, but to seek justice by loving and serving.

Prayer
Holy God, thank you for sending your grace to live among us. Help me to be your hands in this world and to find avenues to lift up those oppressed by injustice. Amen.

Written by Lisa Stracks, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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