Daily Devotion Sunday 2nd June 2024

Sunday 2nd June  Psalm 33
Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.

Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,
with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.
O sing him a song that is new,
play loudly, with all your skill.

For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

By his word the heavens were made,
by the breath of his mouth all the stars.
He collects the waves of the ocean;
he stores up the depths of the sea.

Let all the earth fear the Lord
all who live in the world revere him.
He spoke; and it came to be.
He commanded; it sprang into being.

He frustrates the designs of the nations,
he defeats the plans of the peoples.
His own designs shall stand for ever,
the plans of his heart from age to age.

They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.
From the heavens the Lord looks forth,
he sees all the children of earth.

From the place where he dwells he gazes
on all the dwellers on the earth;
he who shapes the hearts of them all;
and considers all their deeds.

A king is not saved by his army,
nor a warrior preserved by his strength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse;
despite its power it cannot save.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
In him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in his holy name.

May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.

Reflection

The British Museum, just a few steps from my home, recently presented an exhibition From Burma to Myanmar which they billed as ‘a story of trade, faith and empire at the crossroads of Southeast Asia’ but also ‘1,500 years of connection and isolation’. I found the beauty and craftsmanship displayed in gold, ivory, wood, ceramics and textiles truly wonderful. I want to ring out to the Lord (and to you) my joy and praise at the skill and rich spirit evident in these treasures. It’s a territory relatively unknown to us: almost all we receive through media these days is negative. An older generation were imprinted with deeper impressions: ‘the Road to Mandalay’ (then the capital city), the Burma Road (linking with China), the Burma Railway (to Thailand), with its bridge over the river Kwai. Tragic wartime memories, selective recollections.

’A king is not saved by his army, nor a warrior preserved by his strength’. 2024 marks 75 years since the nation broke free from (Britain’s) colonial control. The country took its place in the quest for international peace, contributing U Thant for the role of United Nations Secretary-General throughout the Sixties. More recently this peaceable nation has been distorted by a dominant military regime.

I met and was impressed by the previous general secretaries of the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar 

Some Daily Devotions in June will be guided by those engaged in the URC’s worldwide partnership in mission through CWM. ‘From the heavens the Lord looks forth, he sees all the children of earth …he shapes the hearts of them all’. Let us take the hands of fellow-Christians in Myanmar, hold them in our hearts, be encouraged by their perseverance and pray with them to our gracious Lord this Sunday.

Prayer

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
In him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in his holy name.

Our sisters and brothers in Myanmar 
opened their churches hours ago; already their prayers and praises 
rang out to the Lord with joy. We join in the praise of the universal Church,
penitent, 
patient, 
persistent, 
prayerful, 
peaceable yet passionate,
pleading for people – those whose needs we know, and those whose situation we can hardly imagine.

Grant us, loving Father, solidarity and sympathy with those who come in faith to you far away; strengthen our hearts with awareness of our communion with them in Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Geoffrey Roper is a former company secretary of Council for World Mission (CWM)

Copyright

The Psalms: The Grail Translation, Inclusive Language Version, Collins, 2009.

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