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!
In Psalm 116, a once-desperate seeker rejoices at the hoped-for-but-unexpected rescue received from the hand of the Lord. In ancient Israel, it was common for someone who had experienced divinely delivered liberation to throw a party in thanksgiving. The psalmist says, “What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation.” More than 40 years ago—a biblical number—I was first diagnosed with cancer. Over the next three years, I lost every battle with cancer but somehow won the war. Now, every 10 years, I throw a party with family and close friends in thanksgiving to God for the rescue I received. We lift up the cup of salvation. In Holy Communion, the church sips from a cup that is a foretaste of the eternal feast to come. We lift up the cup of salvation in Jesus.
Dear Lord Jesus, with what shall we come before you? We lift up the cup of salvation and call upon your holy name. Amen.