Sometimes we nd it hard to be joyful and offer praise to God—especially when our present circumstances overwhelm us. The pressures of life—expectations, busyness, illness, worry,
addiction— ll our lives and our minds. Perhaps we need to step back from the details of our lives and look at the bigger picture. Perhaps even try and glimpse life from God’s perspective.
The Psalms are a collection of writings that move among the pressures of life—of enmity, oppression, and despair—to the bigger view that acknowledges God’s authority, love, and presence in all things. Because the psalmists are well aware of their own frailty and destitution, we can identify with their experience. And yet, at the same time, almost every psalm con- cludes with a renewed trust in God that helps us escape the mire of everyday worry.
Of all the psalms, Psalm 100 is one of the most hopeful. It reminds the people to rejoice and sing praises because of God’s faithfulness. Moreover, the psalmist here clearly takes the long view: God’s faithfulness is not a singular event but spans the generations. It reaches back into the far-distant past to our foun- dational stories. This allows us, in turn, to imagine and create a future that relies on this same faithfulness.
At a basic level, taking the long view is liberating, for it frees us from being consumed by the day-to-day pressures of life. But at a deeper level, the witness of Psalm 100 means that we do not simply react to what happens to us. We can step back and acknowledge the blessing of life. We are able to envision a future in which this blessing is shared further and wider. Let us hope in a future where the whole creation makes a joyful noise.
Eternal God, may your faithfulness over the ages give us hope for the future. Amen.
Two threads run through all the readings. One is the claim that God is powerful over all things. Psalm 116 makes this claim most eloquently with its assertion that God “has heard my voice and my supplications.” The story of the promise of Isaac’s birth demonstrates that it is God and God alone who gives life. Matthew situates the call of the disciples within the larger context of Jesus’ mission and understands their work to be the consequence of God’s decision to send workers. Paul emphasizes God’s power by recalling that God’s act of reconciliation comes within the setting of human alien- ation and hostility. The second thread is that of the unworthiness of those whom God chooses.
• Read Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7. When has God presented you with a laughable opportunity? What incredible offer would you like God to propose to you today?
• Read Psalm 100. How do you create a future of hope by recalling God’s faithful action on your behalf in the past?
• Read Romans 5:1-8. When have you looked for a superhero in a crisis situation? Who came to your aid?
• Read Matthew 9:35–10:23. What field of harvest is God calling you to? Do you yearn for wheat rather than potatoes? How do you go about an attitude adjustment?
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