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  • Writer's picturePastor Nancy Raabe

All That Is Within Me

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God's holy name. (Psalm 103:1) Most psalms are directed outward, to God or to God's people. Here the psalmist is addressing him or herself. And why? Because the singer is so filled with gratitude for all God has done that the greatest urge is to express this gratitude at all times, and he or she does not want to lose sight of this. One mid-20th century pastor put it this way: "[The psalmist] is cataloguing the goodness of God; enumerating his blessings, lest in a moment of depression or backsliding, he should take God for granted." Especially in troubled times, our faith may be strengthened when we wake each day with this verse on our lips. The psalm goes on to tell us how to praise God: with all that is within us. Just look all the "alls": 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all God's benefits-- 3 who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases.... 22 Bless the Lord, all you works of God, in all places where God rules: bless the Lord, O my soul. Compare this to one's typical experience of worship. One might sit dutifully through the service while allowing any number of distractions to turn the mind away from God, and then go back out into the world largely unchanged. Well, we don't have that experience available to us right now--and could it be that this is a good thing? In this liminal time God is opening us to the opportunity to acquire the actions of true praise, in which all the heart, mind, and soul are directed toward God. As we await the time when we may come together again, let's practice drawing on "all that is within me" to praise God for each new day of life. Yours in the power of the Spirit, Pastor Raabe

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