Psalm 138 (NRSV)
Verse 1I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;
Verse 2I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.
Verse 3On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.
Verse 4All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth.
Verse 5They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.
Verse 6For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.
Verse 7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.
Verse 8The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
As I write these devotions, we continue in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some churches are beginning to open again for in-person worship in their buildings. Some are not. Nearly everyone is lamenting what used to be. Nearly all are grieving the patterns of worship the way they used to be.
And yet, we are still called to praise and give thanks to God. Why? Because God’s steadfast love and faithfulness have not changed. God hears our laments and prayers; that, too, has not changed. God is present with us in all circumstances; this is another promise that has not been broken. God’s regard for the lowly, as Mary, Jesus’ mother sang in the Magnificat, is a promise and a prayer for us as well.
An “attitude of gratitude” not only helps make life more tolerable; it becomes life-giving and sustaining. Gratitude to the One who loves us, keeps us, and creatively redeems us and all creation, is a worthy response and calling.
We praise you, O Lord, with all that we have, all that we are, and for all you have done, are doing, and will do. Amen