Day 39, April 21, 2020
“A Good Refrain”
Modeling the seven days of creation, we are spending seven days during the Coronavirus Crisis focusing on the word “good”. Good marks the seven days of Genesis, punctuating God’s awesome and amazing acts of creation with the refrain, “And it was good.” On this second day we turn to a “good” refrain that is found in the bible.
· During a particularly traumatic time for Israel they had lost the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines. Under David’s leadership the Ark was returned to Israel. To celebrate the return this song of praise was offered, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (I Chronicles 16:34)
· When the Ark was brought to the temple in the time of Solomon this song of praise was offered, “He is good; his love endures forever.” (II Chronicles 5:13)
· When the grand and glorious temple built by Solomon was dedicated, this song of praise was offered, “He is good; his love endures forever.” (II Chronicles 7:3)
· Returning from the heartbreaking years of exile, when the foundation of the ruined temple was being rebuilt, this song of praise was offered, “He is good; his love endures forever.” (Ezra 3:11)
· And then the psalms, those beautiful songs of the heart, the songs of the faithful, they cry out with joy, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” That cry begins Psalms 106 and 107, that cry begins and ends Psalm 118, and that cry finds its greatest expression in Psalm 136.
Like the creation story, there is a good refrain that echoes and reverberates in the 26 verses of Psalm 136. The psalm begins with a good call to worship, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever.” What follows is a litany of remembrance, a remembrance of all the good things God has done. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good…Oh, yes, in God’s goodness he created the heavens and the earth, the sun and moon and stars…in God’s goodness he delivered the people from their bondage in Egypt, dividing the Red Sea and leading the people through on dry land…in God’s goodness he provided for his people in the desert and defeated the enemies who attacked them…in God’s goodness he established them in the Promised Land and even then continued to remember them in their low estate. How do you celebrate this never-ending goodness from our God who is so very good? Well, Psalm 136 offers a good refrain. With each act and action of God, the Lord who is good, we hear the good refrain, “His love endures forever.” Twenty-six verses, and twenty-six times the good refrain resounds, “His love endures forever.”
As we explore all that is good in our lives, I encourage you to try your hand at writing your own version of Psalm 136. Can you find words of praise for God’s creation, for God’s actions in the bible, for God’s specific work in our world, and God’s work in your life in particular. Here is the beginning of my version of Psalm 136…
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever
· Who sends us the rising sun from Weekapaug to greet us each morning and brings our days to a glorious close with sunsets at Watch Hill; his love endures forever
· Who crashes the waves into spectacular bursts of mist at Spray Rock and unveils a sparkling night sky to take our breath away; his love endures forever
· Who stirred some saintly souls to start a bible study at our own Dunn’s Corners so many years ago; his love endures forever
· Who guided us through our baby steps as a church and sustains us even now during this most recent time of challenge; his love endures forever
· Who shows us his love in small and practical ways, masks that are being sewn, food that is being delivered, prayers that are being prayed, phone calls being dialed, letters being stamped and sent, and a whole generation of Boomers who are now learning to be Zoomers; his love endures forever
· Who has blessed a pastor with a flock who lives their faith, loves their neighbors, longs to share and care, and listens to the still small voice of God as he leads us all day by day; his love endures forever
· Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever
That is the beginning of my version of Psalm 136. I encourage you to take a turn. Try your hand at it. What a good practice to develop, the practice of a good refrain, a refrain that celebrates the goodness of God and his steadfast love that endures forever.
With the love of Christ,
PS. I would love to see what you come up with. Email me your words. It will brighten my day to know you are developing your own version of this “Good” refrain.