Psalm 40:6-17

In the church of my childhood, informal evening worship services
and prayer meetings occasionally included time for spontaneous
testimonies from the congregation. I grew able to predict who would
be one of the first to respond and even what they would say, for most
of the testimonies rarely changed. People would share often-told
accounts of religious experiences that occurred many years ago, but
never spoke about what had happened in the years since. Others
offered testimony that reflected the words of the old chorus, “Every
day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” Conflict, disappoint-
ment or doubt was seldom mentioned.

Occasionally, however, someone would stand and, with a halting,
quivering voice, speak of an ongoing struggle in their life. The words
were often painful to speak and to hear. There would be extended
moments of strained silence. Another person would draw near to
place a caring hand on a shaking shoulder. The congregation would
bow in prayer. Even in my youth, I recognized that the moment was
sacred, the ground was holy.

Since ancient times, people of faith have found strength in sharing stories of their spiritual journeys with one another. These accounts of discovering grace and searching for understanding strengthen the believing community. In today’s passage, the psalmist speaks about affirming God’s steadfast love and faithfulness in the great congregation. The writer affirms the community’s confidence in God’s enduring grace, but also finds the freedom there to confess personal needs, fears, and failures. Blessed is the person who finds a community of faith like that.


What faith communities and relationships have given you the freedom to affirm your faith as well as explore your questions?


God of grace, grant me a settled sense of your presence that continually works to strengthen my faith. Amen.

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