A Lent Reflection for Tuesday, March 21st
By Rev. Julia L. Styles
Lectionary reading: Psalm 146; Isaiah 42:14-21; Colossians 1:9-14
Selected passage: Psalm 146
Psalm 146 The Message
O my soul, praise God!
All my life long I’ll praise God,
singing songs to my God as long as I live.
3-9 Don’t put your life in the hands of experts
who know nothing of life, of salvation life.
Mere humans don’t have what it takes;
when they die, their projects die with them.
Instead, get help from the God of Jacob,
put your hope in God and know real blessing!
God made sky and soil,
sea and all the fish in it.
He always does what he says—
he defends the wronged,
he feeds the hungry.
God frees prisoners—
he gives sight to the blind,
he lifts up the fallen.
God loves good people, protects strangers,
takes the side of orphans and widows,
but makes short work of the wicked.
10 God’s in charge—always.
Zion’s God is God for good!
In Psalm 145:21 the psalmist writes, “My mouth is filled with God’s praise. Let everything living bless him, bless his holy name from now to eternity!” What follows are five psalms of praise, or Hallel psalms, all ending with the praise shout “Hallelujah.”
Esther Menn, from Luther Theological Seminary, summarizes, “Psalm 146 celebrates the good news that in the face of human frailty and mortality God remains trustworthy. What is more, God’s sovereignty from creation to eternity is dedicated to assisting those in deepest need and direst circumstances. Lifelong praise through bearing witness to God’s reign is the theme of Psalm 146.”
How can we live our lives in life-long praise? By all means, let’s continue to sing songs about the glory of God and the goodness we witness here on earth, but let’s not stop there! Let us also praise God through our life–through acts of kindness, and joy, and thanksgiving. Grow a garden, coach a kid’s sports team, paint a picture, spend time outdoors, go for a walk and breathe air into your lungs, tell someone “I appreciate you,” tell someone, “I love you,” give a hug, share a recipe, volunteer, fight for justice in your community.
Even in the midst of brokenness and injustice, God is making things new–healing, repairing and renewing. Pray that God gives you eyes to see all of the ways the Spirit is moving in your community–through non-profits, neighbors, churches and every day connections. Then spend a moment praising God, through a psalm of your own or just a “Wow.”
There are so many ways to praise our Creator. Choose one (or all) of the options below.
Take a time to be in silence reflecting on the goodness of God and the blessings in your life and then write your own praise psalm.
Take a walk outside and mindfully notice all the good and beautiful things around you. Thank God for the air in your lungs, and for the beauty of God’s creation.
Join God in good work–join a community organization to defend the marginalized, feed the hungry, work on prison reform, heal the wounded and lift up those that are feeling down.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and rest in the loving presence of God.
About the Author
Rev. Julia L. Styles is a Spiritual Director and ordained minister. She is passionate about women in ministry and believes the church needs to hear their voices—in the pulpit, on the page, in the classroom, and in positions of leadership both within and outside the church. To contact Julia for a free spiritual direction session visit www.spiritualdirectionwithjulia.com.
Julia resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Derek and two little ones, Jakob and Zoe.