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Personally, I find Psalm 63 to be incredibly comforting. When ruminating or perseverating about my problems, the opening verse calls me to cut through all that distraction and seek God. It is not convicting me or making me feel guilty; it's just cutting through the distractions and resetting my priorities and reminding me that in God's presence is love and joy.

The passages from Revelation and Daniel, I think, make it look like the point is "your steadfast love is better than life itself." In both there are themes of holding fast to God, even in the face of death. I can't argue with that. Certainly Revelation, for all its calamity and destruction, for all it's recurring "two thirds of the world fell away," is written not for the scary parts, but for the remnant, to give hope and comfort. Shadrach, Mesahach, and Abenego stayed faithful all the way to the furnace and God rescued them. There are problems with this from a pastoral care perspective. God rescued them, but will God rescue us? In the hospital, many families pray hard for cures that do not come, and it does not mean they had little faith or that God does not care for them or their loved one. Still, stay firm and hold fast to God.

Along the way, I'll point out that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego don't get into the furnace and then start praying. They held fast to their relationship with God, and then when they were thrown into the furnace, there was no need for a petition or intercession. God was already saving them.

The thing the Psalm gives that these other lessons don't is a peaceful calm, a feeling of love, and a joy in life that all say"It already is." God already loves. God's love is already better than life. Life with God is already a life of joy. We don't hold fast in order to get it. We have it because we're already holding fast and God is holding fast to us. That's what gives me comfort from the lectionary today.


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