Friday Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

Prayer: O God, we seek to serve you as have your disciples before us, let your Word and your Spirit move us as you desire. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The bell tolls

15 My times are in your hand…

Our devotion writer lives in a town small enough to have church bells toll upon the death of a community member. It tolls for each year of the person’s life. “A toll to remember. A toll to pause. A toll to pray.” What a nice idea.  Too bad we live in such a metropolitan area as we do these days, as the practice would go unnoticed by so many who could appreciate it.

Our devotion writer explains; “I hear the bells, and I think of the refuge we find in God in both life and death.  This is refuge I believe our psalmist knew.  The psalmist offers a prayer for help, a crying out for deliverance—a psalm of deep trust in God.  For the psalmist, God is the one who provides refuge, who delivers, who listens, and who stands tall as a fortress.  God is the one who redeems even in the midst of devastation, pain, and loss. God is the one who knew us before we were born, who loves us in life and death, who redeems and renews us. This is God, whose love tolls throughout the earth.”

Prayer: “God of refuge, our lives belong to you. Keep us in your care. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

 

Psalm 31:1-16

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Psalm 31

Prayer and Praise for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;     do not let me ever be put to shame;     in your righteousness deliver me. Incline your ear to me;     rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me,     a strong fortress to save me.

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;     for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me,     for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit;     you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

You hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,     but I trust in the Lord. I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love,     because you have seen my affliction;     you have taken heed of my adversities, and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;     you have set my feet in a broad place.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;     my eye wastes away from grief,     my soul and body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow,     and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery,     and my bones waste away.

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,     a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances;     those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;     I have become like a broken vessel. 13 For I hear the whispering of many—     terror all around!— as they scheme together against me,     as they plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O Lord;     I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hand;     deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 16 Let your face shine upon your servant;     save me in your steadfast love.

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One Response to Friday Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

  1. The Lutheran church, in the town in which I grew up, still tolls the bell the number of years the newly deceased lived on this earth. Children were taught the meaning of the bell’s tolling, at a very early age.. Everyone knew everyone, both in town and in all the surrounding countryside. Everyone knew when someone was gravely ill; so, when the bell tolled, people would pause, count the number of rings, and say something like, “81. John Schmidt must have died. He’s been awfully sick.” Then the party lines would light up, with people calling one another to confirm who had passed, calling the family of the deceased to express condolences, calling friends to plan who would make what food to take to the family, calling neighbors to recall the deceased’s life and contributions to the community. I still count the number of times a church bell rings, even though, in most areas, they only mark the hour now. Hearing a bell toll always brings remembrance of what that ritual has meant, since the 1800’s, to my hometown.

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