Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
– Psalm 115:11
Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. – Romans 5:5
Two-year reading texts: Psalm 107:23-32; 1 Samuel 9; John 1:1-13
"Children of God" is the phrase (from John 1) that sticks with me today. At God's initiative, through Jesus Christ, we've been given power to become children of God. I like the becoming language, as we are all "works in progress" along the way. So we rely on faith, trust, and hope; and the love of God poured into our hearts. I also like the image of being God's children. It means close relationships, a place in God's household, inheritance, and a DNA-style link between our hearts and God's. We're blessed to be able to have lives that over time, in a nonlinear way, can come to resemble the life of Jesus. And even before we get to the point where anyone would come close to mistaking us for him, we are loved and accepted as his family.
With this in mind, I'm also struck by two repeated lines from Psalm 107. Four times, the psalm describes the different challenges "some people" have gotten themselves into. In each of these four verses, there is a line very similar to this:
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress.
God's action is described with different verbs (saved, delivered, brought out) but otherwise the lines are identical. Then a little later in each verse, there is this line:
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
The words are identical each time. I don't remember seeing this pattern before, and I think it's unusual for a psalm to have a two-part repeated "chorus" like this. It has the effect of showing that whatever problems are going on in our lives, God has power to see us through it. We are steadfastly loved, and saved / delivered / brought out from trouble, as children of God. And then we give thanks to God, and recognize that along with ourselves, all humankind is included in God's love.
God of steadfast love, thank you for finding us in times of trouble, and for bringing us through it. Help us to put our love and gratitude for you into words and deeds that can remind us, and proclaim to others, who we are in your eyes, and how you treat us.