1 Blessed is the one who cares for those in need; The LORD delivers him in times of strife. 2 The LORD will surely bless him in the land; He will protect him and preserve his life.
He will not hand him over to his foes That they may satisfy their evil will. 3 The LORD will on his sickbed give him help, And he will raise him up when he is ill.
4 I said, “Be merciful to me, O LORD; Heal me, because against you I have sinned.” 5 My enemies with malice say of me, “When will he die—his name come to an end?”
6 They visit me with falsehood in their hearts And then go out and spread their wicked lies. 7 Against me all my foes are whispering; The worst of fates for me their minds devise.
8 They say, “A vile disease has struck him down; He never will get up and leave his bed.” 9 My closest friend has turned his back on me— My trusted friend, with whom I shared my bread.
10 But you, O LORD, be merciful to me And raise me up their malice to repay. 11 I know that you are pleased with me, O LORD; For over me my foe does not hold sway.
12 In my integrity you hold me fast; Before you I will constantly remain. 13 O praise the LORD, the God of Israel, For ever and for evermore! Amen.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the lovely tune Eventide here.
‘Being raised’ seems like a good theme for today. Christ is risen – He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Having read Psalm 41 we cannot but have noticed the shared story that gave ancient words to the gospel writers, as they sought to name the experience of Christ’s Passion.
Blessed is the one who cares for those in need. The Lord will…preserve his life. My enemies say of me, “when will he die”…they will visit me with falsehood. The worst of fates for me their minds devise. My closest friend has turned his back on me…with whom I shared bread. But you, O Lord, be merciful to me and raise me up their malice to repay.
Psalm 41 illuminated for the Gospel writers the suffering of Jesus and the root of his glory. His way, the way of life, is to be found here: ‘Blessed is the one who cares for those in need’.
It’s not a popular or easy way to live, we know that. It can lead to us being mocked, betrayed by friends, and crucified in one of a thousand ways, but it is His beatitude:
Standing alongside refugees.
Giving a voice to the voiceless poor.
Protesting benefit cuts
Nagging your MP
Dining with those on the edge
Openly listening to different political opinions or religious beliefs.
This Psalm restores our strength as we walk his way; sometimes through the cross-strewn dark. The crucified one is raised – a living example that the light is never overcome.
As we live the life of Jesus today, be assured that the one(s) crucified as they care for those in need, are raised up. The humble are exalted. Suffering and glory belong together. Christ is risen – He is risen indeed!
Living God, raise you people we pray: may the way of the cross teach us resilient strength may the empty tomb restore us with hopeful joy and may Easter celebration be seen on our faces and through our hands this day. Amen
The Rev’d Martin Knight, Minister at St Paul’s URC, South Croydon