Psalm 116:1–2, 12–19 (NRSV)
Verse 1I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplications.
Verse 2Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
Verse 12What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?
Verse 13I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,
Verse 14I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Verse 15Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.
Verse 16O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the child of your serving girl. You have loosed my bonds.
Verse 17I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.
Verse 18I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
Verse 19in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord!
The story of God’s faithfulness continues to unfold in the voice of the psalmist. From personal testimony in the opening verses, to the more public response of thankfulness in verses 12–19, we come to understand the deep well of gratitude exuding from the psalmist’s heart. As often emphasized in Lutheran theology, the psalmist begins with God’s gracious act and then ponders what an appropriate response of gratitude might be. It is not a great step to conclude that this poetic and beloved psalm—so inspiring to generations upon generations—can be a blueprint for our daily prayer life.
Many days I catch myself breathing shallowly as I seek to keep up with the wide array of emails and Zoom calls. But today, the psalmist reminds me to stand up, to take a deep breath, and to look around for signs of God’s faithfulness that has led me through certain dangers and hardships.
Gracious Lord, we give thanks for your steadfast love and faithfulness. As we tune into the rhythms of Holy Week, we know that the days ahead hold heaviness and the very possibility of death. Today, we breathe deeply knowing and trusting that you walk with us every step of the way. Amen.