Formed for Faithfulness: The Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

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Show Notes

In this sixth week of “Ordinary” (or “Normal”) time, Case reflects on how Psalm 130 highlights the human condition of vulnerability and the need for divine intervention.

Nuance’s Formed for Formation is a weekly liturgy to encourage all of us to be faithful to Christ in the public square. Join Case Thorp as he follows the Church calendar through the reading of Scripture, prayer, and short reflections on faith in all facets of public life.

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Episode Transcript

We continue in normal time through the heat of the summer, experiencing the warmth of God’s embrace. May the Holy Spirit warm you up today. 

A poem entitled, Celestial Canvas. 

Spiritual breaststrokes paint the sky. 

Victory in Jesus, our spirits fly. 

New life emerges, colors unfold. 

In Christ’s reign, a story told.

Joyful whispers, winds of grace, 

salvation’s journey, a sacred trace. 

In the masterpiece of eternity, 

Christ’s love shapes our destiny.

Psalm 130

130:1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.

130:2 Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!

130:3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?

130:4 But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.

130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

130:6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.

130:8 It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

Psalm 130, often referred to as a song of ascents, is a profound cry from the depths of despair seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness. It highlights the human condition of vulnerability and the need for divine intervention. This psalm resonates deeply within the framework of Reformed theology, which emphasizes human dependence on God’s grace and the assurance of His love.

We acknowledge that sin affects every part of our being. Psalm 130 reflects this reality as the Psalmist cries out from the depths, recognizing the impossibility of standing before God on human merit alone. This underscores the need for God’s mercy and forgiveness, which he graciously provides. The Psalm beautifully illustrates the principle of sola gratia, only by grace alone are we saved, one of the five sola of the Reformation. The Psalmist’s hope rests entirely on God’s word and His promises of redemption. It is through grace alone that we receive forgiveness and redemption, not through our efforts. Psalmist waiting on the Lord, likened to watchmen waiting for the morning, reflects a profound trust in God’s timing and faithfulness.

This echoes the emphasis on God’s sovereignty and the believers call to trust and rest in his providential care. Just as the Psalmist cries out from the depths, many in our society today find themselves in vulnerable situations, whether due to poverty, injustice, illness, poor choice, or personal crisis.

Recognizing our collective human frailty allows us to extend compassion and mercy to those in need, reflecting God’s own heart for the oppressed and downtrodden. In our interactions with the vulnerable, we should embody the forgiveness and grace that God extends to us. This means advocating for restorative justice, supporting efforts that promote healing and reconciliation, and providing tangible support to those in distress, just as the psalmist places hope in the Lord and His Word. We are called to be sources of hope for the vulnerable. This involves not only meeting immediate needs, but also pointing to the ultimate hope found in Christ’s redemptive work. Encouraging those in difficult circumstances to trust in God’s unfailing love and full redemption can bring profound comfort and strength.

Lamentations 3:22-33

3:22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;

3:23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

3:24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

3:26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

3:27 It is good for one to bear the yoke in youth,

3:28 to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it,

3:29 to put one’s mouth to the dust (there may yet be hope),

3:30 to give one’s cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults.

3:31 For the Lord will not reject forever.

3:32 Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;

3:33 for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we come before you acknowledging our own vulnerabilities and the depths of our need for your mercy and grace. Thank you for the forgiveness and redemption you offer through Jesus Christ. Help us to extend your love and compassion to those who are vulnerable in our society. May we be agents of your grace, offering hope and support to those in need. Teach us to wait on you, trusting in your unfailing love and sovereign care. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

8:7 Now as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you–so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

8:8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others.

8:9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

8:10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something–

8:11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.

8:12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has–not according to what one does not have.

8:13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between

8:14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.

8:15 As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”