Scripture: Psalm 147:1-11
Key verses: (1-5)
1 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
2 The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
Reflection: As I write this devotion, our brothers and sisters in the United Methodist Church are struggling through a painful church debate over disagreements about biblical interpretation and human sexuality. It’s not a new debate. We certainly have wrestled through our own painful disagreements as a denomination, as have others. As the wife of a United Methodist pastor, I’m invested in their decisions. I have spent a little time tuned into their debate online. It is familiar in many ways. Some of the deliberation is indeed about human sexuality, and about how to interpret scripture. Much of it is about the procedure of making decisions as a church. Sadly, some of it reflects the way our ability as a society to talk with respect and civility to one another has eroded. At this time, it is unclear what the future will hold when all the voting has finished.
Regardless, I am confident that God will continue to work through the United Methodist Church, the people who have been raised and nurtured in her churches, and even those who might choose to leave a fractured denomination. God will, because God has before. Over and over again, God makes a way in a broken world. God gathers those who are brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. God is great and abundant in power, even when we are weak. God holds the future, even when we can only see a little way in front of us.
May God bless all those who struggle to make faithful decisions for the Body of Christ: on big national stages that affect whole denominations, and in small church board rooms. May God bless all those who seek to love both God and their neighbor, as Jesus called us to do. May God bless you today, as you seek to live out your faith in a hurting world.
Prayer: Lord, you hold the future. Bless any in your church anywhere, who are hurting. Help us all who call ourselves disciples learn how to live in unity for the sake of your kingdom. Help us be faithful and loving, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[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].