Wednesday of Pentecost 16 – Psalm 146

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
    who executes justice for the oppressed,
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
    the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
    he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!

If you walk into Immanuel hospital here in the Portland, you will find a plaque with the names of the founding board of directors. In the middle of that list is my wife’s great-grandfather. He had been sent to the area as a missionary pastor to serve the Swedish emigrees who had come to vast forests of the Northwest to be loggers. Look around the rest of the community and you will find a Providence, Good Samaritan, St. Vincent, and other hospitals with very Christian names. Of course, there are others. The Kaiser corporation and the local university also operate hospitals, but the majority have at least a Christian root to them.

They are there because a little more than 100 years ago Christians in this community, and probably in your community too if you live somewhere else, had read in their Bibles that Jesus cared for the sick and vulnerable. They would do that too. The same Jesus who rose from the dead lives in them, so He does the same work, through us. The psalmist imagines all the things that God does for the prisoners, the poor, the widow, the sojourner, the fatherless, etc. He sounds like He is busy! We saw Jesus doing all these Lordly things in his ministry on earth, but Jesus has not stopped. As my wife’s great-grandfather realized, that same Jesus was still concerned about the sick and needy folk of this community when he and a handful of people started a hospital. I am sure they did not have enough money or resources to do it. But they had Jesus and they knew He loved people, so they just started doing it. That Jesus lives in you too. What is going on in your community which He cares about. If you are not already, join in Jesus’ care for people today.

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