Reading 21—God’s Love Endures Forever
Psalm 136

Each October for the past several years, on Homecoming Sunday at Mt. Zion in Richfield, we have begun worship with a litany of praise based on this psalm, written by someone in the congregation. Beginning with “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever,”1 the litany recounts the history of the congregation from its formation in 1895 and gives God the praise for the work of faithful members and pastors throughout the years. It even incorporates the ELCA tagline, God’s Work. Our Hands.

This psalm reminds me of a camp song. You remember the ones with the leader singing (or shouting) one phrase and everyone else singing a response, over and over again. It is full of repetition, but at the same time, it spans the entirety of salvation history from creation to the exodus from slavery in Egypt, through the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, right up to the entry into the Promised Land. It also reminds us that even now, God remembers each of us and rescues us from our foes.

In his scripture paraphrase, The Message, Eugene Peterson gives us fresh phrases to sing in this psalm, beginning “Thank God!” and concluding each and every verse with “His love never quits.”2

Psalm 136 provides an opportunity for us to sing gratefully over and over again, in praise for all the wonderful and miraculous things that God has done, remembering the most important thing of all:  no matter who oppresses us, no matter what we struggle with, no matter where we go, no matter what—God has rescued us and “his love never quits”!

To Consider

  • When have you needed to be reminded over and over again of God’s steadfast love?

  • How could you rewrite this psalm to tell the story of your life or that of your congregation?

Gracious and loving God, we sing your praise and give you thanks for your unfailing love and for all you have done, are doing, and will continue to do for us! Amen.

The Rev. Ruth Ann Sipe serves as pastor of Mt. Zion in Richfield and St. Stephen’s in Gold Hill. She is frequently reminded of God’s abundant love shared through the words and actions of others!

 

1 Thanks to Kay Cosgrove for the “Litany of Praise,” written for Mt. Zion, Richfield!
2 Eugene Peterson, The Message, NavPress, 1993, 728-729