His mercy endures forever. 

Saint Stephen of Hungary (Optional Memorial)

Both today’s psalm (Psalm 136:1) and the first reading tell us about the faithfulness of God.   They both recount all that God had done in delivering the Israelites from slavery:   he led his people through the wilderness, battled their enemies, and gave them the land for  their heritage.   Why?   Because “his mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).

God wanted to remind the people of his goodness toward them so that they would remember and stay faithful as they entered the Promised Land.   He knew they would be surrounded by pagans who followed many false gods, so he wanted to make sure they would choose to serve him—and only him (Joshua 24:14-15).

Recounting the Lord’s mercy in our own lives has the same effect in us.   When we make the effort, we can remember so many of the merciful things, both large and small, that God has done for us.   And by reflecting on our own “salvation history,” we’ll see a pattern emerge, just as it did for Joshua and the psalmist.   We’ll see God’s great mercy surfacing again and again.   It will remind us of how often he has intervened to help us in difficult circumstances, and this will lead us to renew our commitment to obeying him and serving him.   It will also give us hope as we deal with whatever challenges and sufferings we might be facing today.

Try this little exercise:   compose your own psalm of praise based on your own experience of God’s work in your life up to now.   For example, you might write, “Give thanks to the Lord, who healed my son when he was so sick” or “Give thanks to the Lord, who gave me a new job when I was unemployed.”   You might even want to include the more ordinary ways he has shown you mercy:   “Give thanks to the Lord for the time he protected me when my car broke down” or “Give thanks to the Lord for showing me how to listen to my grieving friend.”

Pull out your psalm from time to time and add to it.   The more you remember, the more your heart will overflow in love and gratitude for the God whose mercy knows no bounds!

“Lord, thank you for your enduring mercy in my life.”

Joshua 24:1-13
Matthew 19:3-12

Word Among Us