Daily Devotion for Monday 3rd June 2024

Monday, 3 June 2024  
Reading Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith for ever;
   who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign for ever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Reflection

On a trip to London a few months ago I, like Geoffrey Roper, visited the exhibition at the British Museum From Burma to Myanmar.  Intrigued by the history, amazed at Myanmar’s art and resources and saddened by its situation I learned a lot.  Between 1825 and 1885 there were three Anglo Burmese wars fought between the British Empire and the Konbaung Dynasty.  The last such war involved the annexation of Burma and its transformation into a British colony.  Conquered by the Japanese in the Second World War, then by the Allies, there was a brief period of settled post war independence before a coup in 1962 led to a military dictatorship.  Unrest in 1988 gave way to a multi party democracy two years later but the military refused to cede power.  Ongoing strife between different ethnic groups continued, a transition to civilian rule in 2011 left the military with significant power.  After the 2020 General Election the military seized power again.  Rich in natural resources Myanmar has suffered from instability, coups, colonial exploitation, and ethnic tensions; over 3 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.  Even the country’s name is contested with many political and ethnic opponents of the regime rejecting the change.  The plight of Rohingya Muslims has been particularly severe denied citizenship and self determination.

We don’t know the social context of the Psalmist – we do know that this ancient poet didn’t have much time for princes!  Knowing that all earthly rulers will let us down, the Psalmist exhorted us to trust in the God who executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry, who frees prisoners, gives sight to the blind, lifts the bowed,  upholds the rejected and ruins the wicked.   Of course we might wonder why the Lord tarries in Myanmar!  Over the next two weeks we’ll hear voices from within and outwith that troubled country.  We pray for God to act –  remembering that God acts through His people.

Prayer

Rise up O God and bring justice to Myanmar!
Rise up O God and bring peace to that troubled country.
Cast the mighty military from their thrones,
bring relief to the displaced and oppressed,
give wisdom to those seeking to build a better society,
and bless your Church in Myanmar,
that they may be signs of your love,
witnesses to your justice,
and a blessing to others.  Amen.

Today’s writer

The Revd Andy Braunston is the URC’s Minister for Digital Worship and a member of the Peedie Kirk URC in Kirkwall, Orkney.

Copyright

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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