Subject: Redeemer Downtown Devotional: Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost - Sept. 30, 2012

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Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost - Sept. 30, 2012

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

[1] Lord, you have been our dwelling place
  in all generations.

[2] Before the mountains were brought forth,
  or ever you had formed the earth and the  
  world, from everlasting to everlasting 
  you are God.

[3] You return man to dust
  and say, “Return, O children of man!”

[4] For a thousand years in your sight
  are but as yesterday when it is past,
  or as a watch in the night.

[5] You sweep them away as with a flood;
  they are like a dream, like grass that
  is renewed in the morning:

[6] in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
  in the evening it fades and withers.

[7] For we are brought to an end by your anger;
  by your wrath we are dismayed.

[8] You have set our iniquities before you,
  our secret sins in the light of your presence.

[9] For all our days pass away under your wrath;
  we bring our years to an end like a sigh.

[10] The years of our life are seventy,
  or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
  they are soon gone, and we fly away.

[11] Who considers the power of your anger,
  and your wrath according to the fear of you?

[12] So teach us to number our days
  that we may get a heart of wisdom.

[13] Return, O LORD! How long?
  Have pity on your servants!

[14] Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
  that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

[15] Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
  and for as many years as we have seen evil.

[16] Let your work be shown to your servants,
  and your glorious power to their children.

[17] Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
  and establish the work of our hands upon us;
  yes, establish the work of our hands!
Psalm 90 (ESV)
One of the most stark realities of urban life is a pronounced commitment to and concern for work, for vocation. Vocation comes from the Latin word vocatio, which means “calling.” Work life is not merely an activity or profession, but a calling toward a specific goal and purpose. As early as Genesis 1 and 2, we read of a shared human calling to cultivate and care for the created world so that it flourishes in every dimension of life: work, family, society, culture, private and public.

Psalm 90, a prayer of Moses, begins with an overview of God’s eternal and unchanging character (v. 1, “our dwelling place in all generations”), whose plans and purposes are unaltered by the vagaries of time. Against this backdrop, our human frailty, finite wisdom, and moral culpability are brought into stark relief, highlighting our need for God’s forbearance and compassion (vv. 12-13, “So teach us to number our days…Have pity on your servants!”). In light of God’s patient character and work in the world, Moses ends with a prayer about vocation: that our work be aligned with God’s (v. 16, “Let your work be shown to your servants…”) and that He show His favor on our occupations (v. 17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us.”)

Work matters because God works. Just as He is a creator, He calls us to create. He plants and waters, and He calls us to cultivate and garden. He is the One who makes all things new, and calls us to be agents of healing throughout the world through our work. Is this the prayer of our hearts, that God let His “work be shown to your servants” and that He “establish the work of our hands”? When Moses reflected on the unchangeable nature and purposes of God, he found a reason for his work. Is this so for us? “From everlasting to everlasting you are God...establish the work of our hands.”

John C. Lin, Downtown Lead Pastor

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; 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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Downtown Congregation | Redeemer Presbyterian Church | 1359 Broadway 4th Floor | New York, NY 10018