Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional: Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: July 8th, 2012

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Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: July 8th, 2012

These devotionals are to help you prepare for each Sunday to come in the Christian Calendar.* 

[1] I love the LORD, because he has heard
  my voice and my pleas for mercy.
[2] Because he inclined his ear to me,
  therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
[3] The snares of death encompassed me;
  the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
  I suffered distress and anguish.
[4] Then I called on the name of the LORD:
  “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”
[5] Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
  our God is merciful.
[6] The LORD preserves the simple;
  when I was brought low, he saved me.
[7] Return, O my soul, to your rest;
  for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
[8] For you have delivered my soul from death,
  my eyes from tears,
  my feet from stumbling;
[9] I will walk before the LORD
  in the land of the living.
[10] I believed, even when I spoke:
  “I am greatly afflicted”;
[11] I said in my alarm,
  “All mankind are liars.”
[12] What shall I render to the LORD
  for all his benefits to me?
[13] I will lift up the cup of salvation
  and call on the name of the LORD,
[14] I will pay my vows to the LORD
  in the presence of all his people.
[15] Precious in the sight of the LORD
  is the death of his saints.
[16] O LORD, I am your servant;
  I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
  You have loosed my bonds.
[17] I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
  and call on the name of the LORD.
[18] I will pay my vows to the LORD
  in the presence of all his people,
[19] in the courts of the house of the LORD,
  in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the LORD!
Psalm 116 (ESV)
         The gospel promise is one of freedom. We know this from the ministry of Jesus and witness of the early church, as we see throughout the Gospels and the book of Acts moments when death is reversed, evil spirits are cast out, debilitating illnesses is removed, and slaves are released and set free. These accounts are more than just descriptions of historical events, although they are those; they are also descriptions of the Christian experience that define the Christian calling. Through the gospel, we are people set free to help others experience freedom.
 
         Psalm 116 gives voice to the joy and gratitude that comes from being set free from death (v. 8 “you have delivered my soul from death”), which is both a categorical reality (v. 8 “you have delivered my soul from death…I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living”) and a daily existential experience (“you have delivered…my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling”). In other words, not only is freedom from death our hope for the future, it is a part of daily life amidst the regular experience of doubt, anxiety, and discouragement.

         Where the first half of the psalm shows unbridled joy and exuberant delight (v. 1, “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy”), the second half demonstrates a measure of humble resolve to live a life that is the only suitable response to God’s gift: namely, a life of devotion, humility, and gratitude. How shall we respond to what God has done for us? V. 12 “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?” For the psalmist, the response is not merely personal thanks to God but also a life lived before God’s people. The flame of devotion is not to burn alone, but to kindle and ignite the devotion of others. In other words, our freedom exists to help others experience true freedom. Vv. 18-19 “I will pay my vows to the Lord, in the presence of all his people…Praise the Lord!”

 
John C. Lin, Downtown Lead Pastor

O God, who hast taught us to keep all thy commandments by loving thee and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to thee with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect** from The Book of Common Prayer

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