St Paulinus of York

Praise the Lord, all nations;
 laud him, all peoples!
For his lovingkindness is great towards us,
 and the truth of the Lord is everlasting.
Praise the Lord!
                  Psalm 117 [116]

.           .          .

That’s it. That’s the whole psalm. Usually I read through the psalm a couple of times, and a verse catches my attention. And usually, there are a number of verses from which to choose. Today I reached for my Bible, assuming that there was more to the psalm than the daily reading–in spite of the still, small voice telling me that was enough: the bottomless mercy and eternal truth of God are enough for a day’s reflection. Indeed so.

Too often, I find myself looking for the clever bit, for the interesting connection or what strikes me as the deeper meaning, or the surprising meaning. I want to find something that makes me (and perhaps others) say, ‘A-ha. Now that’s [interesting/profound/smart/significant]. I never thought of it that way before.’ Not that there’s anything wrong with that on the face of it. A new or renewed insight can go a long way on a busy or difficult day, and by the grace of God I sometimes stumble upon a refreshing thought. Praise God for that!

But the ordinary truth of the gospel should blow me away: ‘His lovingkindness is great towards us, and the truth of the Lord is everlasting.’ It is that basic truth that inspired Job to say (from the short reading in morning prayer), not just in spite of his misfortunes but in view of his misfortunes, ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord.’ Because no matter what the circumstances are on any given day, God’s love is still certain, God’s truth still secure. So hope is well-founded, and joy will come again.

Praise the Lord!

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