Leading up to the Special Council on Human Sexuality in April, the Reformed Church in America has published a series of 21 devotionals to help the denomination and participants prepare. We encourage all Room for All supporters to sign up to receive these devotionals via email and follow along as we pray for the church and particularly those LGBTQ people who are participating.
In addition, Room for All has commissioned a series of 21 Inclusive Prayers and Devotionals written by supporters and friends of Room for All to coincide with and complement the RCA’s series. We will publish those here on OUTsights over the next 21 days.
These readings and prayers are solely the words and opinions of each guest writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Room for All, their staff, or the board.
A Devotional from Rev. Jill Russell
“I will bless the Lord at all times; God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord will me, and let us exalt God’s name together. I sought the Lord, and God answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Look to God, and be radiant; so your face shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34.1-5
In this season of Eastertide we hear witness after witness testify how they “have seen the Lord.” Mary is the first one. The disciples huddled in the upper room on that first Easter evening are next. Saul joins their ranks when he becomes Paul. And on it goes up until today. We are asked to bear witness to the risen Christ. That is all. When some Gentiles began to share that very same witness, it startled and offended some of the Jewish believers. They wanted to make rules to be clear about who could join their ranks and what they must do to be counted in their numbers. The Holy Spirit would have none of it. What eventually turned the tide was the unmistakable witness of these unlikely believers; the clarity of their witness (I say unlikely believers because who would choose to put themselves through that kind of scrutiny?) They had clearly seen the Lord. They were clearly among those who loved and followed Jesus.
This Psalm speaks a powerful word to us when we find ourselves in the position of being questioned or shamed for who we are before God. I hear these opening lines in a defiant tone or maybe more accurately as an affirmation to be repeated over and over again until the truth of this song rings more loudly in our ears than those who would challenge our place among God’s people. And the last line is the prayer I lift up for us whenever we feel ourselves crumbling under the scrutiny (something that is perfectly natural and normal to feel).
Prayer: O God of all our days, draw our hearts to you. When we find ourselves shrinking from the pain of rejection or the anger of injustice, turn our face back to your loving gaze so that we can be radiant and never be ashamed! Amen.