Thursday, September 8, 2016

Proclaiming and Praising

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

Proclaim, give praise, and say, "Save, O Lord, your people." – Jeremiah 31:7

Jesus said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you." – Mark 5:19

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 106:6-12; Ruth 1; Luke 23:1-12

Proclaiming and praising are the actions that come to my mind today. The Jeremiah and Mark verses lift up the value of telling other people what God has done. And each of these verses, of course, comes in the context of a larger story. The longer texts for today also give glimpses into extensive stories. Each story includes some challenges, some despair or other emotional response, some opposition and conflict, and some grace and blessing in God's involvement.

As each story comes to a good conclusion, people are called to proclaim and praise. But what about in the middle of the story, when the situation is not so good, and the outcome is not at all sure? Should proclamation and praise wait? Or can we go ahead in those moments too? What does proclaiming and praising look like, in all those times when we're still living in an unfolding story?

Maybe one of the definitions of "faith" is that we can know and trust that God is "faithful" in these unsettled, uncertain times. The Bible is full of stories and psalms where people in trouble remember - and call on God to also remember! - the history of how God saves people. Maybe even when, like Naomi, we want to change our identity from "Pleasant" to "Bitter" (Ruth 1:20), we can remember that the end of the story may be better than we can imagine. Maybe we can proclaim and praise God preemptively.

God of salvation and healing and mercy, thank you for being active in our story. Help us to trust and turn to you, and to be bold enough to tell about your part of the story, even before we see its ending.

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