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Focus

Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.


Read

Psalm 98 (NRSV)

O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.


Reflect

I wonder how many times we read this psalm. In most of our churches, we don’t have worship on Christmas Day, unless of course it falls on Sunday, and this is the psalm assigned in the Lectionary for Christmas Day. It makes sense, really, since it speaks of singing “to the LORD a new song; for he has done marvelous things.” The birth of Christ is definitely a marvelous thing! But what about those “other days”?

You know those other days. Those days when the doctor calls to say the test came back positive and they’ve set up an appointment with an oncologist. Those days when the divorce has become final and your definition of “family” is no longer the same. Those days that remind you that he isn’t there to ask for help or she isn’t there to call for a recipe. Those days when hell feels a lot closer than heaven.

The psalmist tries to refocus us by saying, “the Lord has made known his victory,” which we know has come through Jesus. It is a reminder that, when “those other days” creep in and take our minds off of the hope that is Jesus, we have hope forever, even in the midst of struggles and doubts. Sing that song of hope, or at the very least, let someone else sing it for you.


Pray

Almighty God, sometimes it can be so hard to sing that joyous song. The struggles often cloud our view of the marvelous gifts of life. Remove the clouds, strengthen our souls, help us to see your presence in our lives. Join our voices as we sing of your hope. Amen.

Go with God.

Picture of Kip Rush

Kip Rush

Kip Rush is pastor of the Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Brentwood, Tennessee, and a member of Nashville Presbytery. Kip and his wife, Jodi, have two young adult daughters, Madison and Devin.
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