URC Daily Devotion Sunday 26th June 2022

Sunday 26th June 2022
Psalm 97

God reigns! Earth rejoices! Oceans shout God’s might!
Clad in truth and joy, God’s throne is our delight.
Clouds roll aside, and night becomes as day.
God will dwell among us; God will show the way!

Fires will blaze the pathway; stars will mark the place,
when God comes in glory, meets us face to face.
Mountains will shake and worthless idols fall;
Zion will rejoice, for God is Lord of all!

Evil walks beside us, crushes with its grief;
yet in God the faithful find their sure relief.
Shackles will break and chains of bondage cease;
former lamentations now are songs of peace.

Light dawns for the righteous, joy for God’s own heirs–
love all loves excelling, grace beyond compare.
Daughters and sons, God’s majesty proclaim!
Let your hearts declare the Lord’s most holy name!

Michael Morgan © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
You can hear the tune suggested for this, Noel Nouvelet, here

This majestic psalm is a hymn to God who comes in glory and supremacy. 
In the first stanza we witness Creation’s testimony. The roaring of the ocean serves to proclaim God’s rule; and it’s as if the very purpose of the clouds is to part dramatically at God’s arrival, dispelling all darkness. That’s quite an entrance!

The second stanza reiterates this assurance that God intends to be seen and known among us. Such an advent is bound to shake things up – yet for “Zion”, the place and people of God’s presence, this is no fearful prospect but rather an occasion for great gladness. For as God’s truth blazes a trail, the emptiness of every competing claim on human loyalty shall be exposed.

Yet for the time being, the reality and reach of evil must be acknowledged. From the glorious expectancy of the first two stanzas, in the third we’re jolted back to our present and pervasive experience of pain. Faith doesn’t exempt us from suffering; but what we do have is the comfort and conviction, in faith, that injustice and captivity shall not have the final word.

For indeed – as we find in the final stanza – blessedness is not just our fate, but our inheritance. By God’s boundless grace, God’s servants gain the status of God’s children. So we’re encouraged finally to amplify the proclamation with which the psalm began: an ocean can only roar its praise, but our joyful privilege is to worship God by name! 

Throughout the psalm, three strands have been woven: the revelation of God, the response of humanity/wider creation, and the effect or consequence of God’s rule (this is even more evident in the Biblical text, which falls naturally into three rather than four stanzas). So let’s ponder: Where have we seen God’s glory revealed? Have our lifestyles welcomed or resisted this revelation? And what might it mean to live as God’s children today?

Lord of all:
open our eyes as you come to “show the way”,
open our ears as you turn our lamenting to “songs of peace”,
open our hearts to “declare the Lord’s most holy name”.
Sovereign God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
glory be to you. Amen.




Today’s writer

The Rev’d Dominic Grant, Minister, Barnet URC and St Andrew’s Chesterfield Road 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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