Daily Devotion for August 7, 2020

God’s Faithfulness to Israel

"O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
    make known his deeds among the peoples.
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wonderful works.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,
O offspring of his servant Abraham,
    children of Jacob, his chosen ones."  Psalm 105: 1-6

It is good to begin each day in an attitude of gratitude and praise. Telling the stories of God’s wonderful work is indeed important not only for our mission as the church, but to strengthen ourselves to be Christ’s people in an ever more complex and at times, seemingly cruel world.

“Living the psalms” helps me to do this. Both the psalms of praise/thanksgiving (like this one) and the psalms of lament help me to keep my relationship with God, and hence with others, more authentic and hence more loving (living the other types of psalms is another story for another day). Often, I come across words in the psalms that seem to jolt me a bit, because they don’t quite fit my modern sensibilities. Verse six of today’s psalm contains just such words (and as often true in our lectionary readings, the most challenging verse to modern people are left out – you know, the ones about avenging enemies, etc.). Who are the “children of Jacob,” anyway? Does God have chosen ones? Are we not striving to be an inclusive church? How painful not to be chosen! Is this really God’s way? In grade school, I was for many years the smallest kid in the class. Wearing glasses and not being very athletic meant for many years, when sides were picked in gym class, I was most often one of the last chosen or not chosen at all, but left for last. That was so painful.

Thankfully, life is bigger than gym class. Today, I believe that there are seasons where we are chosen, for one thing or another. With the gift of the pain of experiencing not being chosen, we can empathize with others and leverage the awareness of such pain into the kindness that chooses to figure out ways to include others.

When we tell the stories of our faith, we can remember Jesus often chose flawed humans to be his apostles and evangelists. Think of Peter or the woman at the well. When we live out the psalms, we can live them out in a way that chooses love and inclusion.

May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.