Saturday, March 02, 2013

Come before God with Praise -- A Lenten Devotional

 Psalm 95:1-7a
95 Come, let’s sing out loud to the Lord!
    Let’s raise a joyful shout to the rock of our salvation!
Let’s come before him with thanks!
    Let’s shout songs of joy to him!
The Lord is a great God,
    the great king over all other gods.
The earth’s depths are in his hands;
    the mountain heights belong to him;
    the sea, which he made, is his
        along with the dry ground,
        which his own hands formed.
Come, let’s worship and bow down!
    Let’s kneel before the Lord, our maker!
He is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the sheep in his hands.

            It’s a rule we often forget about.   During the season of Lent, should we feel called to take steps of denial, something I’ve always struggled at completing, there is always one day of celebration.  Because Sunday is the Day of Resurrection, we should treat every Sunday, whether during Lent or not, as if it was Easter Sunday.  Easter invites us to celebrate life.   Lent calls on us to let go of the things that keep us from truly enjoying God’s reign, but Easter reminds us that we live in the midst of God’s abundance.

            The reading for today comes from Psalm 95, and its message is clear God reigns.  The Psalm invites us to come before the Lord and making a joyful noise because God is the “rock of our salvation.”  What does it mean that God is the “rock of our salvation”?  Sometimes we think of salvation, if we think of it at all, in terms of making it into heaven.  Jesus dies for our sins, and so if we confess him as Lord and Savior, when we die, we get in.  But salvation is much more than that.  Salvation, in its biblical context, describes healing of relationship – whether with God or with neighbor.  When our lives exhibit alienation and estrangement, relationships suffer – both with God and with neighbor.  But, here the Psalmist makes it clear – when we come to worship God, making a joyful noise with our songs of praise, we entrust our lives to the Rock of our Salvation.  By referring to God as our Rock, the Psalmist is assuring us that God is trustworthy and steadfast.  God isn’t like the sinking sand.  God won’t be here today and gone tomorrow. 

            It is this God, who stands firm, and reconciles us, who reigns, the one who is King above all gods, in whose hands rest the depths of the earth and the heights of the mountains.  The sea belongs to God as well as the dry land.  God is the Creator and the sustainer of our lives.  There’s no place where God is not present.  And if this earth seems too small, then surely God reigns not just here on this blue orb that moves around the sun, but the universe itself belongs to God. 

            Yes, Lent invites to let go, but this Psalm reminds us that in letting go we have the opportunity to embrace the abundance that is God’s. 

            Come, let us worship and bow down before our God.  Let us not turn away from God’s grace, but enter God’s rest.    That is an Easter message for the season of Lent.

Published from CWCC Lenten Devotional

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