"O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast
love endures forever." As a youngster child I used to
resent--dare I say even hate--these words. In our home
no one left the table before we had prayed those words
of thanksgiving together. In later years I am thankful that
those oft-repeated words are a kind of mantra--almost
unconsciously drawn upon at just the right time to
remind me in a more contemporary version that "God is
good; all the time!"
It is clear, then, that the psalmist's intention has met
success. At least five times (1, 8, 15, 21, 31) we hear the
call to thankfulness for God's steadfast love. And right
alongside (6, 13, 19, 28) stands the recital of the "proof in
the pudding" so to speak: "they cried to the Lord, and he
saved them in their distress." Not a bad double mantra
for us too, on this our Lenten journey: Give thanks to the
Lord for his steadfast love endures forever; when we cry
in distress, the Lord will deliver us.
God of steadfast love, give us the right words to chant
on our daily journey, that they may remind us of your
goodness and mercy, and that you will be present to
deliver us in any distress. Amen.
Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 (NRSV)
1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south...
17 Some were sick through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.