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Remember God’s Goodness

A Lent Reflection for Tuesday, February 27 by Rev. Jodi Mullen Fondell


Lectionary reading for 2/27/2024: Psalm 105:1-11; 37-45; Genesis 22:1-19; Hebrews 11:1-3

Selected passage for reflection: Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45



Read 

Psalm 105:1-11, 37-45 NLT


1 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.

Let the whole world know what he has done.

2 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.

Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.

3 Exult in his holy name;

rejoice, you who worship the Lord.

4 Search for the Lord and for his strength;

continually seek him.

5 Remember the wonders he has performed,

his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

6 you children of his servant Abraham,

you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

7 He is the Lord our God.

His justice is seen throughout the land.

8 He always stands by his covenant—

the commitment he made to a thousand generations.

9 This is the covenant he made with Abraham

and the oath he swore to Isaac.

10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,

and to the people of Israel as a never-ending covenant:

11 “I will give you the land of Canaan

as your special possession.”


37 The Lord brought his people out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold;

and not one among the tribes of Israel even stumbled.

38 Egypt was glad when they were gone,

for they feared them greatly.

39 The Lord spread a cloud above them as a covering

and gave them a great fire to light the darkness.

40 They asked for meat, and he sent them quail;

he satisfied their hunger with manna—bread from heaven.

41 He split open a rock, and water gushed out

to form a river through the dry wasteland.

42 For he remembered his sacred promise

to his servant Abraham.

43 So he brought his people out of Egypt with joy,

his chosen ones with rejoicing.

44 He gave his people the lands of pagan nations,

and they harvested crops that others had planted.

45 All this happened so they would follow his decrees

and obey his instructions.

Praise the Lord!


Reflect

The Psalm opens with a charge to give thanks to the Lord and to proclaim his greatness. It continues with a call to remembering the miracles God has done, the justice God desires, and the covenant that God has made and stands by. The last section of the Psalm recalls some of the ways God's faithfulness has been revealed and it is recounted to us so that we too would follow God's decrees and obey his instructions. 


Fundamentally, I don't doubt God's faithfulness and I believe we should indeed give thanks to God and proclaim his greatness. But I must admit that at times, God's presence in our present world feels elusive and distant. I feel utterly flummoxed by the Evangelical support of a politician who I see as a con man and a pathological liar, a man clearly out to only protect his interests, and a man convicted of sexual assault. There is nothing in this person that reflects the character of God and yet many who love God continue to blindly offer their support for him. 


I don't doubt that God's heart is a heart that is deeply desirous of justice and compassion and yet in the face of the war in the middle east, I wonder where that manifests itself. Where is the justice and compassion for the Palestinian people? How can we accept the innocent slaughter of these beloved people? 


There's a family in my church who recently lost their mom to pancreatic cancer. She was a dear soul, a faithful servant in our church and I was so grateful to get to know her as she lived out her final days. But the real tragedy is that she lost her daughter to ovarian cancer just before Christmas. Her other daughters were caught up in the grief of losing their young sister all the while knowing that their mother's days on earth were also waning. What word of hope do I offer them? As a pastor I often feel utterly impotent in offering a word of hope to those in pain. 


But the Psalmist also points me in a direction that helps me in the midst of perilous times. Verse 5 exhorts us to remember...remember the wonders God has performed. Then in verses 37-45 we are given a front row seat to some of those memories. These amazing moments in biblical history where the faithfulness of God was on full display.


Remembering...it is a powerful tool in our lives. We all have times in our lives that we want to remember and savor. Equally true are those days we long to forget and somehow erase from our memory. But memory is an important device that God longs to use to encourage us. For just as the Israelites need to remember how God led them by a cloud at day and a fire by night, so too do we need to remember the moments in our own lives when God's faithfulness was more fully on display than perhaps at this present time. We can be assured that because God showed us his faithfulness in bringing us through a difficult time in our lives, God will faithfully do the same for the present challenge we are facing. In a sense, it is in our remembering that we find a lifeline to keep going. God's covenant is best displayed in our memory. The faithfulness of God in our past encourages us to remember that God too will be faithful in our present even if we cannot see it immediately. Remember the wonders that God has done in your life. And allow God's past faithfulness to give you sustenance and strength for whatever you may be facing today.


Respond 

If you are familiar with the old hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, there is a great line that talks about raising an Ebenezer. It's such a strange reference and perhaps many of us have overlooked it even as we've sung it multiple times. An Ebenezer literally means stone of help, raised by Samuel after a rough battle was won. Raising Ebenezers is a helpful way of remembering. We mark Ebenezer moments when we know without a doubt that God has intervened in our lives. And it is to these moments that we can return when our faith and confidence is wavering. Take some time today to ponder when in your life you were absolutely sure that God was with you, real and present. Mark that moment with a stone of remembrance so that you may return to it as a touchstone when your confidence in God is lacking. In this way, we too remember God's covenant and gain confidence that it holds even when we feel it is wavering. 


Rest 

Loving and present God, help us to remember the times in our lives when your presence in our lives was palpable. Give us the strength to trust in your Sovereign presence even when there are so many factors in our lives that seem to contradict this. Lord, for our memories we give you thanks. Help us to mark those moments in our lives when we have known your faithfulness in clear ways and to allow those moments to propel us to greater faithfulness when times are hard. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. 


About the Author 


Jodi Mullen Fondell is an ordained pastor currently serving as co-interim lead pastor of First Congregational Church in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Her co-worker is also her husband Doug. They have been ministering together for over 25 years having served churches in Sweden, England, France, and Luxembourg. Her experience of living abroad as a foreigner for so many years led her to write “I Was A Stranger: Encouraging the Church to Welcome and Embrace the Foreigner”. She is available to lead a book group on this book should your church or organization be interested. (The book is available on Amazon). When she's not active with interim ministry, she hangs out at her house in the Palm Springs area of California, plays golf, and enjoys her adorable dog Maddie the wonder Lab. Someday she will join the pickleball craze. 



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1 Comment


I always think I will remember the amazing things that God does at the moment that they happen, but six months later, I realize they aren't as significant to me as they were in the moment. An Ebenezer would be helpful to have a tangible and physical reminder of what God has done.

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