A Devotion for Thursday, May 7, 2020
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 (NRSV)
1 In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.
3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
15 My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
Thoughts from “The Word in Season”
God the Rock
“You are indeed my rock and my fortress.”
In the middle of Eastern Wyoming there sits a huge rock known as Devils Tower. Seen from miles away, this monument serves as a refuge for birds and animals around the area. A sense of mystery surrounds the towering stone as stories have been told and movies have been made around its origin and purpose.
The psalmist likened God to a rock and fortress for good reason. God, like Devils Tower, stands as a refuge in the middle of the wilderness. We take shelter under God’s shadow and find protection in God. God keeps us safe in the midst of the storms that rage around us.
Devils Tower will ultimately crumble. It may stand today, but in time erosion will wear it away. In contrast, God will never fail us. God’s faithfulness lasts from generation to generation. God will never erode. We can hold God’s claim to God’s protection forever.
Prayer: Sheltering God, remind me to take refuge under your shadow so that I may be protected from the dangers of this world. Amen.
Prayer Concern: National Park Service workers
Scripture Reading for Personal Reflection:
Genesis 12:1-3 (NRSV)
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
I try to imagine what it would be like to have God call me to, “Go from your country and your kindred (family) … to the land that I will show you,” not knowing where that might be. I’ve left my “father’s house” – which is pretty common these days – and have felt the effects of being many miles away from my immediate family. Sometimes I wish I were closer to home!
On the other hand, God does make some pretty big promises – “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great.” God dangles a pretty big carrot in front of Abraham’s nose! Perhaps that’s what’s drawn so many people from their “father’s house” today as well – the opportunity at a particular job, or level of income, or more attractive surroundings. But Abraham was being told to “pull up stakes” and move on to an uncertain future – except for the certainty of God’s promises and blessings (as certain or uncertain as they may have been for Abraham – but he does go!). Where is God calling you to go?
The other piece to Abraham’s call is that of blessing – not God’s blessing upon him, but that of being a blessing, “I will bless you … so that you will be a blessing,” and “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” He will be a blessing, and in him others will be blessed. It’s a two-sided blessing. How do we look at our blessings? As something simply for us, to be enjoyed and kept to myself, or as something that I both enjoy the benefit of, and which then is a source of blessing to and for others? (Like if I find a stash of toilet paper at the store, do I buy a bunch and keep it all to myself?) God’s desire is that we share, and be a blessing – wherever we may find ourselves in life, wherever God may call and lead us to be – knowing that God will be with us, and bless us.
Hymn for Reflection:
“Great is Thy Faithfulness” (ELW #733, WOV #771)
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
there is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;
as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed thy hand hath provided;
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. Refrain
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Refrain
If you would like to borrow an ELW or a WOV hymnal (or both) during this time of sheltering in place, you may pick one up in the narthex on the table to the right as you come in. They have been sanitized for you protection.
Please put your name on the check-out list so we can remind you to bring it/them back when we are able to resume worship in the sanctuary. Also, please sanitize them before you bring them back.
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation.”
– Psalm 68:19 (NRSV)
Blessings & Peace,
Want to do something positive in this uncertain, anxious time?
Write an encouraging card, note or letter
for one of our shut-ins (Ken Bechtler, Myrtle Danielson, Helen Randall and Barb Morphew) which can be brought to church for delivery (place in the basket in the breezeway).
Or, make some cheerful, simple artwork –
for others and for yourself – that can be put in a window to cheer you up, and those who may see it in your neighborhood.
Do you Quilt?
How about making Masks out of quilting fabric? It’s supposed to be one of the best fabrics to use, and there are patterns online to make them.
Write a Devotion
to post here and share with others, something encouraging or inspirational.
Perhaps it could be a remembrance or experience of God’s faithfulness or love at work in your life.
For those affected in any way by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially Felicity Luthanen who has tested positive.
For our congregation in this time of separation, that we would yet be held together.
What about a Sign Campaign?
Would we want to make simple roadside signs – from the people of Messiah – indicating prayers and support for medical, food, pharmacy, and other essential service workers (especially “on the front lines”)? What do you think? Could be a visible way of “sharing the love of Christ” in this time.
Have another idea? Let me know, and I will share it here!