Today's Lectionary Text
I’ve taken refuge in you, Lord.
Don’t let me ever be put to shame!
Deliver me and rescue me by your righteousness!
Bend your ear toward me and save me!
Be my rock of refuge
where I can always escape.
You commanded that my life be saved
because you are my rock and my fortress.
My God, rescue me from the power of the wicked;
rescue me from the grip of the wrongdoer and the oppressor
because you are my hope, Lord.
You, Lord, are the one I’ve trusted since childhood.
I’ve depended on you from birth—
you cut the cord when I came from my mother’s womb.
My praise is always about you.
I’ve become an example to many people
because you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
glorifying you all day long.
Don’t cast me off in old age.
Don’t abandon me when my strength is used up!
Yes, my enemies have been talking about me;
those who stalk me plot together:
“God has abandoned him!
Grab him because no one will deliver him!”
Don’t be far from me, God!
My God, hurry to help me!
Let my accusers be put to shame,
completely finished off!
Let those who seek my downfall
be dressed in insults and disgrace!
But me? I will hope. Always.
I will add to all your praise.
My mouth will repeat your righteous acts
and your saving deeds all day long.
I don’t even know how many of those there are!
I will dwell on your mighty acts, my Lord.
Lord, I will help others remember nothing but your righteous deeds.
You’ve taught me since my youth, God,
and I’m still proclaiming your wondrous deeds!
So, even in my old age with gray hair,
don’t abandon me, God!
Not until I tell generations about your mighty arm,
tell all who are yet to come about your strength,
and about your ultimate righteousness, God,
because you’ve done awesome things!
Who can compare to you, God?
You, who have shown me many troubles and calamities,
will revive me once more.
From the depths of the earth,
you will raise me up one more time.
Please increase my honor
and comfort me all around.
Then I’ll give you thanks with a harp—
I will thank you for your faithfulness, my God.
I will make music for you with the lyre, holy one of Israel.
My lips will rejoice aloud when I make music for you;
my whole being, which you saved, will do the same.
My tongue, also, will tell of your righteousness all day long,
because those who seek my downfall
have been put to shame and disgraced.
Like me, some of you have caught the Covid-19 variant despite following best practices. We are so grateful for antibodies and vaccines that have lessened the severity and longevity of this disease.
Some of you have tested positive while remaining healthy, yet still have to isolate and miss out on planned activities. But for all of us, at least part of this time has been difficult. Sometimes life feels like a game of dodgeball!
Fortunately, we have a God that is our rock and our fortress, a God who rescues us when we are afraid and feeling alone.
With gratitude, we make it a practice to offer at least one word of praise to God each morning.
Thank you, God, for the sunshine, warm blankets, and furnace that
keeps us warm even in January!
Thank you for those we love and help us through the day.
Thank you for the gift of prayer, wrapping us in love.
As we breathe in the love of Christ, may we feel a sense of peace and our spirits lifted towards you.
Know that you are safe, you are loved, and you are remembered.
God’s love and peace to you and all,
-Rev. Marta Wheeler
St. Paul Benson, Omaha
Staying home the past ten days to quarantine
my head was spinning with ideas
of what I’d get done.
I’ll organize and edit past writings
in preparation to assemble a book soon.
Surely, I’d practice both piano and dulcimer,
organize the spices, and wipe down
the dusty baseboards.
I’ll call dozens of people from church
and catch up on their lives and families.
Still, doing what strength allows and then learning from puppy
the value of finding space where the sun streams
in for a healing nap.
She encourages us to watch comedies
including puppies, while snuggling on sturdy legs.
Annie taught me that obedience training
of “heel, sit, stay, and come,” works only
when rewards are in place.
She reminds me of the importance of
meals even when your belly doesn’t growl for food.
Most of all, Annie sits on the couch upon
awakening, anticipating our
prayers in gratitude to God.