June 3, 2020

I Belong to God

Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.
Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”
—Psalm 40:6-8

Faithfulness is measured more in my willingness to listen and to change than in my thoughtless adherence to ritual. I might think of God's book as a rule book or a book of ritual that must be followed if I want to get close to the Holy One. But the 40th Psalm—as well as prophets like Jeremiah—seem to indicate that God's book is the place where the names of God's children are recorded in indelible ink. It's not from God's book that I memorize the ways I can gain divine favor, but to God's book that I can look to find the assurance that I belong to God.

I'll close with a brief quotation from the beginning of the Heidelberg Catechism—one of the most amazing and easily understood theological statements ever written:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
Because this is such a meaningful and important prayer, I'll be praying it both today and tomorrow:
Imprint upon my heart, O God, that because I belong to you no one can pluck me from your hand, and because I fear you I need fear no other; through Jesus Christ, who taught me to pray: Our Father...
A New Zealand Prayer Book (alt.)

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