Reflections: Friday of the 20th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 5:15-21

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 5:1-19; Matthew 22:23-46

“Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” (Eph. 5:18b-19)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Christians are encouraged to learn psalms.  More than any other book of the Bible, the Psalms speak to every situation and every emotion a believer may ever face in his life.  The psalms speak both from our perspective to God in prayers, laments, thanksgivings and recounting of what God has done previously in Scripture.  But the Psalms also are God’s Word to us.  They give God’s voice to us addressing our sorrow, hope, trust, guilt, anger and more.  And the very words we say in the Psalms are given by God to us.  Yes, even those destructive and bloody psalms about bashing in heads with rocks or calling on God to break the teeth of enemies!  Even these are God’s Word, holy and sacred above the words of men!

The apostle Paul encourages us to address other believers (probably in church, but also in our families) with psalms.  There was a time, long before MP3s and playlists, when people were encouraged to learn psalms by heart.  In the early centuries of Christianity, believers were encouraged to sing psalms while they were working.  At a time when you didn’t have the background music of the radio or a playlist, singing the Psalms was a great way to be grounded in God’s Word.

Did you know that Jesus is in the Psalms?  Often, He is even the one speaking the psalms.  These poems point to the Savior of sinners, the Redeemer of man, the fulfiller of creation and the key to life.  Jesus and His death and resurrection for our salvation stand at the heart of the Psalms.  They must be, for the Holy Spirit who fills the hearts of psalm-singers also reveals our Lord and Savior to us.  Even here.  It is no surprise that any Word inspired by the Holy Spirit also proclaims the crucified and risen Jesus who forgives sinners freely. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

We sing of mercy and judgment unto You, O Lord, our Savior and Judge; help us with the one, warn us with the other.  Grant us Your humble servants, O Lord, that a stubborn heart may depart from us, and that wicked things before our eyes may not allure us, but that walking in the simplicity of innocence, You may lead us on in Your pity and love, and absolve us as a truthful Judge; who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.  Amen.

-Pastor Robert Mayes is Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Zion St. John Lutheran Church in Beemer and Wisner, NE.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.