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Close your eyes and open yourself as you relax into a peaceful state. Be willing to expose yourself for who you are as God created you to be. Breathe deeply as you prepare to hear God’s Word.


Read

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (NRSV)

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

The LORD is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the LORD does valiantly;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted;
the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the LORD.
The LORD has punished me severely,
but he did not give me over to death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.

This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.


Reflect

Margie was the best Bible teacher I have ever known. Margie didn’t just study the scripture; she digested it. She let it sink into her heart and mind so deeply that it colored the way she saw everything—and everyone. Because of this, Margie had a gift for seeing God at work in surprising places: in the lives of celebrities, the work of politicians, in movies that weren’t “religious,” and in music that would never be nominated for a Dove award.

At the heart of Margie’s understanding of God was the word chesed, translated here as “steadfast love.” God’s unwavering, unyielding, relentless loving-kindness was Margie’s favorite learning from the scripture. There is, she knew, nothing we can do to stop it, and the supply is endless.

This psalm is a mishmash of beautiful truths about God. It reads like a medley of the psalmist’s greatest hits. It shows us God at work in battle and in building, bringing victory and new life. It reminds us to respond to God with joy and thanksgiving and encourages us to marvel at God’s work and to share those stories. Above all, it tells us this: God’s steadfast love (chesed) endures forever. What more, really, do we need to know?


Pray

Loving God,
This is the day you have made;

help me to rejoice in it.

This is the kingdom you are building;

help me to work in it.

This is the abundant life you offer;

help me to embrace it.

This is the steadfast loving-kindness you give;

help me to rest in it.

Amen.

Go with God.

Jennifer Newell

Jennifer Newell

Rev. Jennifer Newell is a member of Tennessee-Georgia Presbytery and pastor of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Tennessee. She and her husband Chuck celebrate 30 years of marriage this month. They are the parents of three fabulous adult children: Ellie, Evan, and Zoe.
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