Today's Lectionary Text
Psalm 148 (CEB)
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from heaven!
Praise the Lord from the earth,
Let all of these praise the Lord’s name
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! A powerful phrase that many of us may proclaim when something great has happened, or we have heard something amazing … but the author of Psalm 148 tells us frequently … “Praise the Lord” and “Praise Him.”
When things are going well for us, it is easy to praise the Lord. We get married, and we praise Him; we get a new job, we praise the Lord; we celebrate Christmas, and we praise the Lord. But what about during the times when things aren’t going well for us? Maybe it is your first holiday without your loved one; or you have lost your job; or maybe you are going through a health crisis … do we praise the Lord at that time? These might be times that it is difficult to give praise, but the author reminds us that, “He has made his people strong.”
In 1996, we learned that my father had glioblastoma, which is one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. The six months we had with him were probably the most difficult of my life … and also the greatest in my life. You may wonder how I could consider these months some of the greatest? They were the greatest, because these six months helped mold me into the person I am today. Thanks to my faith, I was able to use this time to learn about being a caregiver to a loved one, and then, how to treat my own patients. And when I talk about how to treat my patients, I don’t mean in the physical sense, but with their emotional, mental, and spiritual needs.
We have the greatest model in the world to follow, and to emulate our lives. No, I don’t mean supermodels, or professional athletes, or actors/actresses, or any other celebrities … our greatest model is Jesus Christ. He showed love, empathy, forgiveness, patience, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Friends, we have every reason to celebrate and to praise the Lord, for we just worshipped together at the birth of our Christ, and He has come to be our partner through life … every single aspect of your life, you are not alone. Christ is with you every step of the way!! Praise the Lord!!
-- Merri Leach, lay leader
Atchison United Methodist Church
Prayer for Reflection
Oh, great Father, as we are busy with the hustle and bustle of Christmas get-togethers, family time, and celebrations, help us to remember that your gift to us is truly the greatest gift we could ever receive. Continue to show us ways in which we can use that gift, Jesus Christ, as our role model. Thank you for this gift, and for that we Praise YOU!! Amen.
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