“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart” (niv). The opening words of this psalm of thanksgiving are a timely reminder of what Jesus calls the greatest commandment of all: to love God with heart and soul and mind.
In the times of the psalmist, Jerusalem is regarded as the one place where heaven and earth meet. It was where God chooses to dwell on the ark of the covenant. For this reason, wherever they are, the Israelites pray facing Jerusalem.
A habit of total dedication—continual faith and repentance—leads us toward true discipleship. Our own personal relationship with God is of paramount importance. The psalmist’s sobering words remind us that our relationship with God has little or nothing to do with just our works or our efforts.
This psalm of thanksgiving reminds me that my regular attendance at worship on Sundays is often more out of habit than for the joyful worship of God. Too often I come to worship preoccupied by the troubles of the world and the workweek. I am adept at disconnecting from the passages of scripture we hear and many of the hymns and choruses we sing as I merely go through the motions of worship. My heart is not in the service. Sadly sometimes, even just ten minutes after a service, I cannot recall the message from the sermon.
Worshiping God, not only on Sundays but every day, requires our undivided attention. I need to be far more prepared and eager to worship. I need to expect that God will speak to me through one or more of the methods of worship. I need to listen to my heart. The well-worn cliché resonates in this scenario: “What you put in is what you get out.”
What real action do you have to take to make your worship experience more personally meaningful?
Loving God, thank you for your continual patience with me. Help me to worship you with a joyful, undivided heart. Amen.
The theme of calling is continued in this week’s readings. Isaiah has a vision of God on the throne and is terrified because he knows that he is unworthy; yet he is being called by God. The psalmist, traditionally David, praises God for having a purpose for his life and bringing it to completion. Paul echoes Isaiah’s sentiments of his own unworthiness to the Corinthians. While assuring his readers of the reality of Christ’s bodily resurrection, Paul recognizes that he preaches only by the grace of God. When Jesus is calling his disciples, Simon Peter recognizes him as the Lord and cowers because he feels unworthy—much like the prophet Isaiah had done. These readings teach us that God’s call is based not on our worthiness but on our willingness.
Read Isaiah 6:1-13. When have you heard a difficult call from God? How did you come to finally say, “Here I am; send me”?
Read Psalm 138. How have you seen God uplift the lowly and the humble? How have these experiences changed the way you live out your faith?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. How does your life witness to Christ’s resurrection?
Read Luke 5:1-11. How has Christ called you? Whether or not you feel worthy to the call, Christ wants you to follow.
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