Reading: Psalm 66:8-20
Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net; you laid burdens on our backs;
you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows,
those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.
I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.
I’m a product of the ‘70s and ‘80s, with Jim Henson and his Muppets providing a big influence. Despite its carefree theme song — Dance your cares away, worries for another day – each episode carried a valuable lesson in responsibility, friendship, caring, respect, … This psalm passage reminded me of an episode on promises. In it, Mokey, a somewhat “Martha-like” dutybound and well-meaning character, learns about the importance of keeping her promises. When she neglects fulfilling her commitments, her plant wilts, her friends suffer, and most tragically, the sage Trash Heap Marjory temporarily freezes. In other words, relationships are compromised. Ultimately Mokey apologizes sincerely, sets right the consequences of her forgotten vows, and all is forgiven. The Fraggles return to life in the Rock, where they “know how to love and take care of one another.”
Isn’t our relationship with God somewhat like this? Tested, burdened, oppressed, we vow in prayers to live more righteously, dedicate more of ourselves to God’s will, realize God’s vision for us—if only God will get us through this latest scrape. Our intentions are good; we mean every promise made, in the moment. Yet when the battle is over and we are once again safe and secure, do we remember to give God our pledged thanks and praise?
Our relationship in Christ with the Father is lived in our connection with humanity. We serve God when we praise God’s love to others, extolling God from whom all blessings flow so others might recognize God’s steadfast love. Trusting in deliverance, we can and should dance our cares away! After honoring our promises, of course.
Lord, you welcome me to lay my cares at your feet and to trust in your saving grace. You bless me with steadfast love and hear my every prayer. May your spirit fill me with the light and love I’ve promised to share with others, always in your name, and with your help. Thank you, Abba.