And a good Saturday to all. I hope that the morning is well with you.
This morning we turn to Psalms 73 and 74. These are both of them noted as Psalms of Asaph, rather than of David. And they are part of a group sometimes referred to as Psalms of the Sanctuary, liturgical Psalms if you like, Psalms used in organized praise and worship. There is a regrettable tendency among those of us in the American Anabaptist tradition to be resistant to anything around the heading of ''liturgical'', connecting it with the more 'High Church'' practices of Rome, the various Orthodox and Byzantine Rite churches, the High Church Anglicans, and some others. That may be a mistake - there is something to be said for fostering the sense of awe and majesty that is appropriate when we are in the very Presence of the Living God. But there is also something to be said for the recognition that we are, today, standing in the midst of a long line of those who have brought our lives, our troubles, our needs, our worship and praise to the only One to whom we should bring them. These Psalms, thousands of years old, are to me ever timely. Our situations really are not terrible different. The words here are those any of us in distress might say, perhaps not terribly different from those we have said.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
One thing about liturgical works - they really ought to be read aloud. Unless you are one of those who can read something and hear the oratory in your mind, with emphasis and pauses, you won't get the full effect, the richness, just in silent reading. And, actually, the Psalms beg to be spoken, not just gazed upon. Try it, you'll see what I mean.
This evening we get into the 5th chapter of Paul's letter to the Romans. Like the entire work, this chapter really gets into the meat of the faith. I have been told that Martin Luther thought that all Christians should memorize the entire book. I haven't, not as a deliberate effort, but portions of it are in the memory banks. You may find that to be the case as well. Consider,
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.or
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
I can not say this too often: every phrase, every word in this book should be gone over carefully. This is not ''fluff'', this is meaty. Don't miss any of it.