Daily Devotion for Sunday 14th April 2024

Sunday 14th April Psalm 26
Give judgement for me, O Lord:
for I walk the path of perfection.
I trust in the Lord; I have not wavered.

Examine me, Lord, and try me;
O test my heart and my mind,
for your love is before my eyes
and I walk according to your truth.

I never take my place with liars
and with hypocrites I shall not go.
I hate the evil-doer’s company:
I will not take my place with the wicked.

To prove my innocence I wash my hands
and take my place around your altar,
singing a song of thanksgiving,
proclaiming all your wonders.

O Lord, I love the house where you dwell,
the place where your glory abides.

Do not sweep me away with sinners,
nor my life with bloodthirsty people
in whose hands are evil plots,
whose right hands are filled with gold.

As for me, I walk the path of perfection.
Redeem me and show me your mercy.
My foot stands on level ground:
I will bless the Lord in the assembly.

Reflection

‘Inosculation’ is a natural process in forests by which separate trees fuse together into a single organism after their branches and roots have been entwined for a long time. Even if parts of one of the former individuals dies or is cut off, the new unitary whole remains alive through its fusion with the other half.  

The writer Maria Popova suggests that ‘everything alive has the potential for inosculation in one form or another.’ She says that inosculation is what the great naturalist John Muir meant when he observed that ‘when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.’ 

One reading of our psalm today leaves us believing the psalmist is a self-righteous curmudgeon, asking God to keep them from ‘being swept away with sinners.’ Surely, you might be thinking, didn’t Jesus call us to eat with sinners?  

A more careful reading shows that what the psalmist values most is belonging. They avoid hypocrites and those who are wicked, and long to bless the Lord ‘in the great congregation.’ Perhaps, to this psalmist, wickedness and evil arise when we forget that we are woven into God’s story of creation or desire a society where we do not owe anything to anyone else; a society perhaps not unlike our own, where isolation and loneliness are described as epidemics.  

The psalmist already knows how connected we are to God, the world, and everything in it. They seek encouragement not to forget that inosculation with God. They ‘love the house in which you dwell,’ the place of worship shared by others seeking the joy of living out our inosculation with God. Perhaps, then, the psalmist reminds us that the goal of our worship, discipleship, and prayer, is to continually re-discover, and enjoy, our inosculation with God. Thanks be to God.  

Prayer 

God, we know that we cannot pick out one thing without realising how woven it already is into your story of creation. Help us to see ourselves the way you already see us, as part of your story. Amen. 

 

Today’s writer

The Revd Ryan Sirmons, Minister, Central Newcastle upon Tyne

Copyright

The Psalms: An Inclusive Language Version based on the Grail translation from the Hebrew © 1963, 1986 The Grail (England) GIA Publications

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