Psalm 138 - A Prayer For Today2
The 138th Psalm, assigned for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost in Series A, makes a perfect prayer for today. The fear of coronavirus has invaded the world, as surely as if space aliens had landed. Never before, except at the Flood and Tower of Babel, was there world-wide dismay and distress. Never before has such panic been induced by those whose vocation it is to make people strong and courageous.
Social distancing has made the whole world ill. If it saved any bodily lives, it has destroyed mental health. So has the masking of faces. Of personhood. So that every person thinks he is alone in all the earth.
What is one to do?
Pray the Psalm that David prayed 3,000 years ago amidst his many, many troubles.
Take special note of the 4th verse: "On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul increased." As often as the church calls upon her LORD, Christ, she is given "strength of soul," and that is what we all need today.
Note, too, the last verse: "The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever." You are not adrift and forgotten in the universe. But the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is our Father too. He will guard you from temptation, and deliver you from evil. That is his good and gracious will for you. So be at peace.
All these promises proceed from verse 3, "for you have exalted above all things your name and your Word." Jesus is God's Word. The Word made flesh that still dwells among us full of grace and truth. It is he with whom we commune in God's House on Sunday, his Word that we hear, his absolution that we obtain, and his cleansing Body and Blood that we take into ourselves. He is the Word of eternal life, and eternal strength. Jesus still says to the storms in our souls today: Peace! Be still.
PSALM 138 Of David.
I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise.
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your Word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul increased.
All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
And they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
your preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies
and your right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever
Do not forsake the work of your hands!