March 23, 2020
FIRST A NOTE: For the coming days, I will be using the readings that are assigned in the daily lectionary for each day. I will choose one lesson from each day. If you are looking for more readings, there are three listed each day at this website: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=A.
Psalm 146 - Praise for God’s Help 

 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10  The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Grace, peace and mercy be multiplied to you from God our Father, and the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
 
This is a beautiful psalm, isn’t it? And more than that, I love the title – Praise for God’s Help .
 
The past few days, we have seen a lot of people offering help to others. It is wonderful to see. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring from everyone who has offered to help with something, anything. Some of those offers are coming from parents who want to find a way to use up their kids’ pent up energy in helpful ways! We all want to help.
 
It is easier to give than it is to receive. We have heard it, haven’t we?
 
But sometimes we need to be open to receive.
 
One Sunday, a parishioner came out and complemented me on my sermon. I started to go into a lengthy explanation of how I came up with what I had shared. Maybe I thought she wanted to hear more (at least that was my hope!). In a kind and gentle manner, she cut me off, and said, “Pastor, the correct response is simply to say ‘Thank You.’”
 
Sometimes we need to be open to receive the gift. For I have seen, time and time again in ministry, that the gift of receiving is a blessing to the one who is giving.
 
And so it is with God. As Luther would say, God desires that we thank and praise, serve and obey Him.
 
Thank you God!
 
Psalm 121 is a song of ascents. The song was used as people ascended the path to the Temple in Jerusalem. The pilgrims would sing the question and those at the Temple respond.
 
Hear again the psalm:
 
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
  My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.  – Psalm 121:1-2
 
God is the giver of all that is good. God offers.
 
Our receiving is one way we give thanks and praise to God.
 
Let us join in praise for God’s help.
 
Let us pray:
Thank you, God. Thank you for today. Thank you for the hope for tomorrow. Thank you for…. (fill in whatever you wish)… In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Remember to...