The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, July 29th comes to us from Florence Fong of Singapore.
Psalm 34:1-8 NRSV 1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
The pungent smell of the durian often brings back fond childhood memories for me. My late father used to lug home gunny sacks of durians from Malaysia. My mother would line the floor with newspapers, and my family of six would gather around to enjoy this delicacy. It was an important family time for me. In the past, it seemed a long wait until the durian season, when we could once again enjoy the fruit. These days, durians are readily available in many places, even in supermarkets. Most people just take them for granted.
Those who have never tasted the durian may simply be put off by its unpleasant smell and its thorny appearance. Likewise, those who do not know Jesus Christ, the King of kings, or have never tasted his goodness may just turn away from him, based on limited understanding of who he is. But by opening our hearts to God’s goodness revealed in Jesus we can find the joy that comes when we make commitment to follow Jesus – wherever he may lead us.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for your love and the gift of salvation. Help us to discover your goodness as we learn to trust in you. Amen.
– Florence Fong
How often did we take for granted gathering for worship and lifting hymns prior to the Covid-19 virus forcing the suspension of in-person worship? In conversations with members, colleagues and family, I have been reminded that worship, a precious gift, is relegated to stained glass sanctums. Today’s scripture invites us toward a posture and attitude of worship that isn’t confined to an edifice or block of time. Rather, the author of our Psalm invites us to consider that worship and praise occurs wherever we might be. Whether in our homes, in our gardens or in our cars, we can create a sacred sanctuary for worship. Much like the Israelites carried the Tabernacle of meeting with them throughout the wilderness, we too can carry our worship of God with us. Although we have been unable to be in the sanctuary, we have been in the presence of God. As we prepare and plan for resuming in-person worship, let us bring with us not merely an appreciation for our gathering place, but also a broader understanding that worship happens wherever the children of God offer praises to God.