When we heard that the sanctuary at 13th and Madison would be empty for a couple weeks while the room was being restored, a couple members of the worship team and I seized the opportunity to go worship in the great acoustics of the empty room.
We put together these projects and will be releasing a collection of hymns, covers, and original songs each Friday during this Lenten season. Each song will be accompanied by a devotional written by one of our pastors. For this first Lenten reflection, we focus on the hymn, “O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go.”
Listen: O Love that Will Not Let Me Go
Read: Psalm 103:6-14
This passage of Scripture ends with a familiar declaration from Ash Wednesday, “God knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” What strikes me from this passage is that it is not written from King David’s perspective: “God I am dust!” Although this does happen in other Psalms. This verse is written from God’s perspective. “He knows how we are formed, and he remembers that we are dust.”
When I was a child, I enjoyed building snow forts. I would sometimes try to do this with fluffier snow, and no matter how hard I packed it together, as soon as I touched the snow, the structure would fall apart in a cloud on the ground. As I reflect on Psalm 103:14, I am reminded of this picture and how frail we are. We are dust. Something as simple as a cold can touch us and we are down for the count. However, I am also reminded about how this points to how gentle God is to form us and breathe life into us.
The Psalmist shares more about this God when he writes, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” The love talked about here is the Hebrew word Hesed which refers to a loyal or steadfast love. It’s this God of steadfast love who works justice on this earth (v 6), forgives us when we stumble (v 12), and covers us with compassion (v 13). And it’s this God of steadfast love who gently holds us, remembering that we are dust (v 14). God, in steadfast love, is always with us.
This week of Lent, as you listen to this song and as you remember your own mortality and frailty, where is the Spirit inviting you to fix your eyes on the steadfast love of God? To not try to be God, but be held by God. What is one practice you can lean into this weekend to remember this steadfast love?
Devotional written by Pastor Aashish Baskaran