Scripture: Psalm 116
Key verses: (12-14)
What shall I return to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
Reflection: I only return things that are not mine: library books, a pen from the last meeting, clothes that don’t fit, a neighbor’s casserole dish, and in a way, my taxes. To put a very fine point on it I also return my breath. The most essential thing in the whole world to me is not mine to own. In order to take in air I must first return what I used.
So when the psalmist asks what should we return to the Lord I have to look around and ask myself what of God’s have I borrowed? I know we say my church and my kids and my money and my, my, my, my. However, discipleship offers a different grammar where the pronouns are usually plural. When we are taught to pray, it is to our Father. Myers Park is as much your church as it is mine and though it says Myers Park, there are many from Cotswold, Grier Heights, Ballantyne, and even a few from Canada, who call this place home. And really, ultimately, it is God’s house, the Lord’s Table, and offerings are presented to God, for God. I will have to pay for my kid’s college but our baptism reminds us that raising children requires many people and before my child was a Macleod their first and truest identity is child of God.
Truth be told, and it ought to be, we don’t own anything. Even with that which you can say with one hundred percent certainty belongs solely to you it is also one hundred per cent true that it won’t be yours forever. Your body will return to the earth one day as you make your way home to God.
So, to get back to the psalmist’s question, just what do we return to the Lord? We return everything.
Through loving and serving and worshipping and praising and pledging and caring and making and sharing and giving and celebrating and sacrificing we pay our vows to the Lord.
Prayer: We give thee but thine own,
whate’er the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone,
a trust, O Lord, from thee. — W.W. How, 1858
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].