This week Associate Pastor Nyahaley Labor is sharing the devotion from Epiphany Lutheran Church:
“O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,…” (Psalm 107:1–2a)
I am still smiling; I can’t help myself. I was overwhelmed and filled with joy to see so many people come out for our first outdoor service two weeks ago. All I can say is “Thank you Lord!” To some, it may be too early to say “thank you Lord,” but for me, I think thanking the Lord at all times and in all situations is the right thing to do.
For six months we have not been able to gather as a church to worship, fellowship and communion as the body of Christ in a building that was once visited at least once a week. A building that is so near and dear to our hearts. The threats and uncertainties of a virus that still lingers, have kept us away from the place we call our place of worship. It seemed to have divided us and left us broken. We seemed to have been left wandering in the wilderness, homeless and lonely. Lord, help us, we cried!
As broken as our spirits are, we know we have God, a God that is everywhere. We found him in our homes, kitchens, closets, and even in our bathrooms, because everywhere we shed a tear, broke down, or even smiled at his glory, God was there. Therefore, we found him virtually and continued to praise, worship and give thanks. The body of Christ is not destroyed, it was not broken, it was not divided, and the church was never closed. The body of Christ manifested itself in other ways, and we held on to that. Christ shows up when we are broken, he shows up in our darkest hours.
As we reflect on Psalm 107, a Psalm that starts out urging us to give thanks to the Lord, let us remain thankful. Let us remain thankful for a God that has remained faithful to us. Seeing all the people that Sunday brought tears of joy to me. We have all gone through a lot and even though we may still have one another, some have lost friends and loved ones both to the virus and other diseases or accidents. Some may be struggling with a health condition, others with financial instability, friendships have been strained, and families are still struggling to get together, but one thing remains is the love of God.
Therefore, let all that we are praise God. Let us give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love endures forever. Because just as the Psalmist records in this Psalm, some have been hungry and thirsty, some have sat in darkness and gloom, some have mourned and suffered the wrath of injustice. Others have been overcome by fear and anxiety, but God remains merciful. When we cry, “Lord help”, Christ breaks the chains of darkness and gloom. He stretches out his comforting hands, he gives us hope, he lightens our burdens, and brings us peace. He heals the sick and comforts us in our brokenness. Give thanks and know that he is God!
“Dear God, thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives, thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us. Thank you for bringing hope to us even in the toughest of times. Thank you for your great love and care. Thank you for your mercy and grace. Thank you for always been with us even in our brokenness. Forgive us for when we don’t thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you’ve given. Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you. Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy. We need you more than ever. We long for your saving grace. We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy! In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen!”