Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional: Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: July 29th, 2012

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Photo by Amy Roebke 

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: July 29th, 2012

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

[1] May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
[2] that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
[3] Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
[4] Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
[5] Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
[6] The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
[7] God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!
Psalm 67 (ESV)
Throughout the early days of the church, God’s people were a sending and a giving community. They were people of mission and sacrifice, who gladly gave or went forth themselves in order to see the good news of Jesus Christ preached to the ends of the earth.

What undergirded that commitment -- and what undergirds it today -- is a desire for people to experience the same sense of joy and wholeness in the worship of Jesus Christ that we ourselves experience. In worship, we feel the reality that we are accepted and complete, and the early church wanted that experience to be shared. And it is this experience of completeness and acceptance before God that Psalm 67 relates. In v. 1, the psalmist quotes the benediction of Aaron (Numbers 6:25), declaring the good word that God “make his face shine upon us.” When we see the face of a loving parent directed toward a child or a devoted husband’s toward his glorious bride, we see adoration and affection. We say, don’t we, that a man’s face “lights up” when he sees his beloved enter the room? Or when a mother holds her child for the first time? This is the experience God’s children have, of His face being “lit up” with joy as He looks upon us! And the psalmist here asks that this not be something kept to ourselves, but that it enable us to live lives of going and giving, sending and sacrificing, so that others might experience the same.

Is the loving gaze of God toward us something merely for our own comfort, or is it a joy to be shared with the world? Do we know we are loved and accepted and yet cling to feeling empty and self-protective, or do we let that gaze reshape us into people who are complete, self-giving and free? The adoring, fatherly gaze of God upon His Son is what allowed Jesus to give His life for us; after all, Jesus was the One in whom God was well pleased (Mark 1:11). It is likewise this adoring gaze upon us that allows us to be people who give ourselves so that others might also experience that adoring gaze. “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!”
John C. Lin, Downtown Lead Pastor

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect** from The Book of Common Prayer

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