Text and devotion selected by Parish Worker Marlene Wright.
Song of Ascents.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
you, O Lord, should mark
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
wait for the Lord, my soul
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
Devotional written by Bishop Leon D. Pamphile ’74 of Haiti, Academia (2008)
“Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem” (v. 7).
In the depth of our being lies a natural craving for certainty. We wish to be sure of the successful outcome of our plans and the ultimate fulfillment of our dreams. We aim to exercise firm control over our lives. Certainty matters for our security as well. Yet our world is manifestly marked by the brutal reality of uncertainties. We cannot rely on our leaders, who too often fail to keep their promises, or on our institutions, which, though they try, cannot offer a foolproof warranty for our safety. In the midst of disappointments and failures, we too often slip in this land of worry and anxiety.
It is reassuring to know that our utter state of disillusionment finds satisfaction in God. The psalmist bids us place our hope unreservedly in the Lord. His recommendation stems from his personal experience with God’s unfailing love. While everything fails around us, we find certainty in his steadfast, unfailing love and his great power to redeem us fully. His loving care from day to day brings reassurance of his abiding presence.
We, like the psalmist, can also find peace of mind in God, who does not keep a record of sins, who hears deep cries for mercy. We can rely on Christ’s promise to nurture our peace: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). What a relief to know Christ as a reliable and faithful burden bearer. Let us learn to lean on him all the days of our lives.
Lord, we confess our limitations and shortcomings in all areas of our lives. We too often worry about our future instead of relying on your compassions, which never fail. We humbly invite you to open our eyes to the provisions of grace and mercy available to us in our daily struggles. Please help our unbelief, so that we can find hope in your unfailing love and trust in your grace for full redemption. Be attentive to our cry for mercy, we pray. Amen.