Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Psalm 146:5-10 (NRSV)
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD!
This psalm is a reminder of who is really great, and who is only great in the eyes of the world. Although the first four verses are not part of the reading, they are important in the context of what the psalmist is writing about. “Do not put your trust in princes,” the author writes, because they will fade away and die, and that day their plans will end.
How many of us put our trust in human leaders? How many times do we expect those in power to do good things for us? Yet these are the people the psalmist says not to trust. Then the author goes on to say who for whom God will work, the people who will find their help in God. They are the oppressed, for God will work justice for them. They are the hungry, for God will give them food. They are the prisoners, the blind, those who are bowed down, strangers from other lands, orphans and widows. These are the ones God will uphold and for whom God will provide.
We often strive to be rich and/or powerful, but those who become rich and powerful often become the oppressors, the detainers of prisoners, the ones who eat their fill while others go hungry, the ones who tell the immigrant they have no business here. That is not God’s message. Those whom the powerful would oppress are God’s favorites! They are the ones God will raise up.
Does it pay to be rich and famous and powerful if God’s love and mercy are reserved for those who are oppressed, poor, and hungry?
Lord, remind us that we are never powerful or rich in comparison to you. Help us to use all we have and all we are to achieve your goals: Release for captives, food for the hungry, welcome for the stranger, and comfort to those who have been oppressed. Amen.
Go with God.