Sunny blue skies, hot chocolate on a cold day, fresh flowers, fireworks, babies—all these things bring me joy. It comes to me in a burst of energy, gratitude, and happiness that makes my heart smile, and for a moment I experience the sheer goodness of creation. These moments often last only a short time, so I do my best to recognize and savor them for the fleeting gifts they are.
I often feel jealous of the psalmists who seem ready to break into joyous songs of praise at any given moment—deep, genuine praise at the drop of a hat—a trait I both admire and envy. In today’s passage, the psalmist calls “all the earth” to “make a joyful noise to God.” I acknowledge that I don’t always feel the sense of amazement that characterizes the writer of our psalm.
As I contemplate this psalm, I realize that the psalmist is disciplined at remembering. It may not be inherent perfection that causes the psalmist to overflow with God’s praises but rather the intentional remembering of God’s mighty acts and sustaining presence that naturally calls forth praise from all creatures of the earth. Verses 5-7 evoke images of the miracles in Exodus and other deeds God accomplishes toward humanity. Just as a clear blue sky stirs praise within my own heart, so here the parting of the Red Sea summons the praise of God’s people, for God “has kept us among the living” and continues to preserve those lives. The miracles of God in the service of God’s people, both then and now, provide cause to remember and to engage in repeated and endless praise of the One who brought Israel “into a spacious place.”
This week, make it your practice to remember and share those stories.
God of glory, help me remember and proclaim your work in my life that I may experience your joy and share it with others. Amen.
One might have expected Jeremiah to advise the exiles to maintain their independence and be ready to return to Judah. Instead, he tells them to settle in, to build and plant, to seek the welfare of Babylon, even to pray for its prosperity. The judging purposes of God call for extended exile and not impa- tient rebellion. In the story of the ten lepers in Luke, one returns to praise and thank Jesus for giving him health. Only then do we learn that he is a Samaritan. The ultimate outsider becomes the model of faith. Second Timothy bears witness to the awe- some character of God that always honors divine commitments, thereby appearing to humans full of surprises. For the psalmist, God merits the worship of all the earth.
• Read Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7. When have you found yourself in exile? How did you cope with the situation? What reminded you that God had not abandoned you?
• Read Psalm 66:1-12. When has the testing of God brought you out to “a spacious place”?
• Read 2 Timothy 2:8-15. How do you ready yourself to pres- ent yourself as one approved by God?
• Read Luke 17:11-19. The writer states that Jesus’ question, “Where are the other nine?,” invites us to receive God’s healing of illness and inner wounds. What in your life needs God’s healing touch?
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