Psalm 138 - Whole-hearted thanks

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Of David.
1) I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2) I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
above everything.
3) On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.

4) All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.
5) They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
6) For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
but the haughty he perceives from far away.

7) Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
8) The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Psalm 138 (NRSV*)
5th Sunday after Epiphany, Year C
Proper 5, Sunday between June 5 and June 11, Year B
Proper 12, Sunday between July 24 and July 30, Year C
Proper 16, Sunday between August 21 and August 27, Year A

"Thank the Lord, and sing God's praise; tell everyone what God has done! Let everyone who seeks the Lord rejoice and proudly bear his name. God recalls her promises, and leads the people forth in joy, with shouts of thanksgiving - Hallelujah!" (Lutheran Book of Worship, adapted).

The psalms have been sung ever since they were psalms. Even when recited, they are traditionally done so as chant. This is so for worship, whether in synagogue (in Hebrew) or in cloister (in Latin or vernacular). The melodies carry the words of the psalm forth to others, and inwards, into memory and perhaps into the heart.

So it is that my response to this psalm of thanksgiving was to recall a musical note of thanks and praise, which I learned in church. The singing helps with this whole-hearted project. A little faith is better than none. But when the prize is a life filled with the blessing of God, is not "all-in" more suitable?

I sing, I bow, I call... and yes, I walk in the midst of trouble. And "on the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul." Some may say it is just an accident of fortune that the Lord's hand delivered me, but I praise God on high, for not only is the Lord good, she has a purpose for me. God will forsake neither me nor his own plan, for God's steadfast love (hesed) endures forever.

How glorious is this One in whom we trust! In his power, the Lord loves the lowly, for they are the work of God's holy hands. In her wisdom, she keeps the dismissers, the oppressors, the disregarders at arm's length. Great is the glory of the Lord! I give you thanks with my whole heart.

Photographer unknown, Yoga edgewoman, 02/01 2017. Public domain (CC0 1.0).
Inter-Lutheran Commission on Worship, Lutheran Book of Worship. Augsburg Fortress, 1978.
* New Revised Standard Version Bible (NRSV), copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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