Renewing Our Communities

Gordon VanWylen

READ : Psalm 107:33-43

The connection between God’s saving acts described in verses 4-32 with today’s reading seems to me like a shift in focus from the individual to the community. When God rescues the individuals he places them in a community a city (v. 7) or a haven (v. 30) in which those rescued give thanks for God’s unfailing love.

But what values permeate these communities? Tragically, sin and pride can be present in communities as well as in individuals. God’s judgment comes because of the wickedness of those who live there (v. 34). But just as God acted to redeem individuals, so he rescues communities, and they experience great blessings (vv. 35-38). But then a great reversal comes, apparently because of pride. God humbles them and changes fruitful land into a desert wasteland. Later God’s rescue operation begins anew (vv. 40-42) as he reaches out to the needy and their families.

God places us in communities for our good; families, churches, and cities can be wonderful places for worship, celebration and personal growth. But they are fragile, prone to sin, and often in need of renewal.

PRAYER

Thank you for my family, church and the community in which I live. Help me to make these places where Christ is present so that truth, beauty and goodness may abound. Amen.