Great is God’s love toward us and his faithfulness lasts forever.
We tell ourselves stories. All the time we are talking to ourselves about who we are, about what we can do, about what we are capable of. Or not. I don’t have to offer examples. You are already filling them in.
In the very short psalm 117, the psalmist offers that kind of story in compact form: Great is God’s love toward us and his faithfulness lasts forever.
That’s a summary, of course. Love could be “lovingkindness”, a word that is richer, that speaks both of the nature of relationship and the way it is expressed. His lovingkindness prevails over us, overwhelming our protestations that we are not worthy or adequate. And his faithfulness, his constancy in lovingkindness lasts forever.
We can, in the middle of struggles of various sorts, in the middle of the night, in the heat of the day, say these words. Great is God’s love toward us and his faithfulness lasts forever.
There is, however, the tendency to change us to me. To make the statements of God personal, we say. But we need to look at the sentence before this one, the idea that this is the warrant for. “All you nations, all you peoples.”
Suddenly, we are aware that the writer is including people who are different from me. I cannot use this as a “even though they are mean” psalm. There are enough of those.
Somehow this is a “we all are called together to say, ‘Great is God’s love toward us and his faithfulness lasts forever.’ Because he loves US and is faithful to US across tribal and national boundaries.”
This is a call to worship, not a call to come to my church. In fact, I may have to move a bit to be part of us, particularly when I’m the one who misunderstands.
I’m reflecting these days on what it means when I go to the psalms.