Daily Devotion for Sunday 9th June 2024

Sunday, 9 June 2024 Psalm 34
I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor called, the Lord heard them
and rescued them from all their distress.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
They are happy who seek refuge in him.

Revere the Lord, you his saints.
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.

Come, children, and hear me
that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is he who longs for life
and many days, to enjoy his prosperity?

Then keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good;
seek and strive after peace.

The Lord turns his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just
and his ears to their appeal.

They call and the Lord hears
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.

Many are the trials of just people
but from them all the Lord will rescue.
He will keep guard over all their bones,
not one of their bones shall be broken.

Evil brings death to the wicked;
those who hate the good are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.

Reflection

O to have the certainty of the Psalmist! What it would be to know all those things that the Psalmist asserts as truth – being set free from our terrors, the poor rescued from their distress, angels rescuing God’s people, the memory of the wicked fading, those who live with hatred being doomed.  These are ideas we want to assert and rejoice in but know the world isn’t like that.  

O to have the certainty of John Swinney, our new First Minister, who has vowed to eliminate child poverty which, despite some excellent policies, is still higher here than in many other European countries.  This would involve tackling the scourge of cold damp houses, fighting the economic systems that drive down wages to enhance profit, and bringing down energy prices.  We’d need to radically reduce pollution and up our game on the green agenda (pollution hits the health of the poorest more than the middle classes).  Even all that might not make the impact that has been promised.  It has been suggested only a Universal Basic Income high enough to lift people out of poverty and funded from a wealth and land tax might achieve this aim.  Who knows?  It’s unlikely that such radical policies would be tolerated by the wicked systems that control our world – nor by many in our governing party.  

I warm to the certainty of the Psalmist and our First Minister but wonder if these laudable aims can be achieved.  
On Monday I suggested that the Lord works through his people; maybe the Psalmist raised these ideas into our consciousness that we might act.  Might a different world be possible?  Perhaps, these certainties will remind us of our responsibility to change our world so that the poor are rescued from their distress.

Prayer

Good God we’re uncertain when faced with certainty,
unclear if poetic rhetoric is really truth,
unsure if political aspirations really can be met,
unconvinced that your Kingdom is really coming.
Give us wisdom, dear God, 
to see how we can transform our world,
to change the harsh realities we live with,
and to reconstruct our politics
so that children will no longer grow up hungry.
Amen.
 

Today’s writer

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

Copyright

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

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