The psalmist points us to the reliable love of God, which manifests itself in concrete help for people desperate for compassionate aid. We wisely ask ourselves: How does God provide all-encompassing care for those who are broken and who fall between the cracks of support systems?
The statement that leaps to our attention as unique in the psalmist’s poetic rhythm comes in verse 8: God “loves the righteous.” In the midst of reciting God’s acts of compassion on behalf of the oppressed and hurting, the psalmist writes this new and different line: “The Lord loves the righteous.”
And who are the righteous? We might assume they are morally perfect people. Instead, we find the answer in the psalm’s invitation to embody the compassion of God: Not to behave in ways that disempower the powerless; rather, to see ourselves as God’s feet traveling to the places where the shamed hide, God’s hands tenderly lifting a chin, God’s eyes lovingly seeing a person with distorted self-worth, God’s voice advocating for the oppressed. The purposes of the righteous align with those of God’s.
With the psalmist, we praise the Lord with all our soul because we know God attends to the cries of those on the margins. When we embody the ways of God in attending to the bowed down, we have reason to praise, for we are loved by this compassionate God.
At the end of the day, let us never pause from praising God whose love has lifted us and restored us when we were bowed down and has empowered us to do likewise.
Loving God, may we stand with you, whose concern is for the bowed down. May we embody your compassion and action to relieve the suffering of the oppressed. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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