URC Daily Devotion 6th February 2022

Sunday 5th February 2022
Psalm  78
We will tell each generation
all that you, our God, have done;
how you called and led your people,
chose us out to be your own:

Tell the times of our rebelling-
how we wandered from your way,
how your law our love compelling
taught us humble to obey:

Tell how once, when spite and terror
threatened to engulf our land,
you defended us with vigour,
saved us by a mighty hand:

Tell the grace that falls from heaven,
angels’ food as faith’s reward;
tell how sins may be forgiven
through the mercy of the Lord.

Michael Perry Words © 1989 The Jubilate Group 
(admin. Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl, Carol Stream, IL 60188)
You can hear the tune suggested for this Psalm, Restoration, here

The Jewish people see themselves, through the witness of Scripture, as God’s chosen people.  Chosen before the ages to tell of God’s loving kindness, unity and justice.  The tales in Scripture balance, like this version of Psalm 78, this lofty calling and the reality of a fallen fallible people.  The people are to tell their children of both their calling and their falling.  It’s something we should do more of in the Church.

Seeing ourselves as sharing God’s favour, we believe we too have a calling to tell of God’s loving kindness, justice and salvation shown to us in Jesus – God made flesh.  We’re good at telling that story (whether we do so in effective ways is another matter.)  We’re less good at telling of our fallible failings; how the Church has been both a force for good and evil, freedom and oppression, light and darkness.  Instead we develop a collective amnesia  – whether that’s about our collusion with colonialism, our support of slavery, our persecution of the Jews or our treatment of those who believe differently.  

The Psalmist, and today’s hymn writer, manage to convey the desire to tell of God’s deeds alongside our human failings.  We can rejoice in the power of God, and repent of our own cruelty.  Telling both sides of the story will, hopefully, stop us perpetuating our mistakes.

Before the ages, Eternal One,
you chose your people to tell of your love,
yet you knew, even then, of our weakness, frailty, and failure.
Grant us the wisdom 
to both proclaim your deeds and admit to our sin,
that, at the end, you may unite us with all your people of old,
saints and sinners, vindicated victims and repentant oppressors. Amen


Today’s writer

The Rev’d Andy Braunston is the URC’s Minister for Digital Worship and a member of Barrhead URC. 


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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