SCRIPTURE: Psalm 66:8-20
8 Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
12 you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
14 those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
17 I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.
In consideration of this passage from Psalms, Thomas L. Are, Jr. offers that “Testimony is the means by which we are reminded that God’s faithfulness to us is not limited to us. God’s love is not limited to those in the sanctuary. The object of God’s redemptive love is creation-wide.” Are, Jr. also points out that, “If our testimony does not demonstrate a holy love that is creation-wide in scope, it will not be a faithful testimony to the God who truly has listened.”
Are, Jr. makes a very important point that I think we sometimes forget about or at least used to prior to this pandemic. He reminds us that “God’s love is not limited to those in the sanctuary.” That has not always been, and in some places still is not, the way some Christians think about God’s love. But God’s love is not something we can control or dictate. God’s love surpasses all human understanding and is for all creation, not just a select few. When we better and more consistently embrace this understanding of God’s love, the barriers and divisions that humanity creates to separate people begin to fade and we can come together as beloved children of God.
I invite you to continue to think about what you hear and see this week, listening for testimonies. Also, ask yourself, what is your testimony to how God has acted in your life?
Loving God, you have done amazing things in our lives. Today, and every day, we give you thanks. Help us to love as you do, without caution and without judgment. Strengthen us to embrace a radical love for ALL people throughout the world. Amen.