URC Daily Devotion 4th July 2021

Sunday 4th July

Psalm 49 
Come one and all from near and far,
to share the insights I have found:
a heart which has been taught by faith,
informs the wisdom I expound.

Some flaunt their gold, some trust its power – 
but what they cherish will decay;
and still the ransom for a soul
remains a price too great to pay.

Though wealth or learning may be ours,
or fame that spreads throughout the land,
the shackles of mortality,
prevent so much that we have planned.

Beyond the age of shame and sham,
we glimpse a better destiny,
the Lord will lift us free from death,
to walk with Him eternally.

Why crave renown or opulence?
They fade, those things, we now possess;
our hope, our life are in the Lord,
the God we honour and confess.

Martin Leckebusch 2008 © Kevin Mayhew Ltd.

You can hear this sung here https://hymnary.org/media/fetch/152423

One of the myths of our time is that wealth makes us happy.  I have spent many happy moments daydreaming about winning the Lottery – not the huge prizes, of course, but that one they do where you’re promised £10,000 a month for 30 years.  (Of course that is a huge amount).  Of course I’d do good things with the money too… but so far my numbers haven’t come up!  The allure of wealth is strong and probably always has been.
Today’s metrical paraphrase of Psalm 49 reminds us that the wealth we cherish will decay and is never enough to ransom our souls.  We are reminded that death or as the writer puts it “the shackles of mortality” get in the way of our grandiose plans.  As the old Prayer Book puts it “in the midst of life we are in death”.  

We like to find security – a good job, a good wage, a nice home in a nice area.  We like to think that these are normal things, our right or our reward and are very unsettled when we realise that often these things are due to an accident of birth.  Despite our relative wealth, however, we’re all equalised by death.  Fame and wealth fade and, like the Psalmist we must hope in the Lord – hope for a better world where all are secure, hope for a more equal distribution of the resources we hold in common and hope for a life in Christ which continues after we die.

In the midst of life we are in death
of whom may we seek for succour,
but of thee, O Lord,
who for our sins art justly displeased?
O Lord God most holy,
O Lord most mighty,
O holy and most merciful Saviour,
deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
(from the Book of Common Prayer).


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Andy Braunston works with four churches in and around Glasgow.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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