Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

I love the LORD,

because he has heard my voice and my supplications.

Because he inclined his ear to me,

therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

What shall I return to the LORD for all his bounty to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation

and call on the name of the LORD,

I will pay my vows to the LORD

in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the LORD

is the death of his faithful ones.

O LORD, I am your servant;

I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.

You have loosed my bonds.

I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice

and call on the name of the LORD.

I will pay my vows to the LORD

in the presence of all his people,

in the courts of the house of the LORD,

in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the LORD!


From Rev. William Flewelling


In the midst of the week called Holy, the week remembering the passion of Jesus from the so-called triumphal entry into Jerusalem to crucifixion on Friday and the numb Sabbath day before Easter arrives, we pause on Psalm 116 this Wednesday.  This turning day finds us, in a historical fashion, wondering what is going on.  We thought we knew last Sunday – but then a growing sense of disappointment has filled the week, for all we thought we knew is proving to be a mistake.  Sorting things out in the midst of confusion rarely proves successful; we miss too many hints and misjudge the ones we do, sort of, notice.  We are posed in this faith-relationship with God on a day in the midst of uncertainty.

Of course, the Psalm goes on to identify what is in mind – lift up the cup of salvation; pay upon our vows; offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving – all in the midst of Jerusalem.  But we come here to this question of “what” in an unsettled state.  Everything seems out of balance though we are not really in a state to acknowledge that fact: we really want to hold onto the certainties we had in mind when following the donkey into Jerusalem last Sunday.

What is it we can render to the Lord? – literally, what shall I return to Yahweh (of) all his benefits upon me?  Here, when nothing is going as we thought it ought to go, when all sorts of things feel like they are unraveling though we have been so sure of the real trajectory of the Lord all through our time of following him, what shall we return to the Lord?  Why, it is feeling like we aren’t really sure what it is we have, how we can spell out our benefits that have accrued upon us!

Not knowing where we are going, or how we will get there, what might be the sort of falling out of events to resolve this odd day – the third day from the entrance, we don’t know yet – playing history – of the supper tomorrow night, nor the Garden, the whirlwind collapse of our dreams and schemes, our finding our Lord the victim, offered in love for us and for God to wrench free what we don’t know is bound in pride and confusion.  We do come knowing that we are in the business of returning in the way of offering our love for him, for God, for God’s unfathomable love.  We will learn soon enough what it is we have to offer.


Receive, O God, the offering we are still discovering, the gift of ourselves, our love, our peace, our newly humble graces, our share in your sublime gift in the love of Jesus, our Lord.  Amen.