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  • Writer's pictureSteven Marsh

A Goodly Theme: a Reflection on Psalm 45, Isaiah 52:7-10, Revelation 21:22-27, and Matthew 12:14-21

I am captivated by Bonhoeffer’s call for a community to begin each day in “morning worship together.” Life Together is a profound contribution of Bonhoeffer. We must take heed. Scripture, hymns, and a prayer for the church form the practice.

I am convicted. My initial response was the congregation I serve doesn’t need another program. How will families fit this into an already jammed schedule? The staff with whom I serve, might we add this discipline to our beginning each day? Really? I worship daily…ah, but that is not community, is it? Pause came upon me.

It appears that beginning each day, in community, with worship causes focus to emerge on a “goodly theme.” The psalmist articulates components of this goodly theme…truth, what is right, righteousness, equity, and God’s name celebrated.

This goodly theme announces peace, brings good news, proclaims salvation, sings a new song, and exhibits God’s salvation.

Oh how the hungry, homeless, mourning, lost, angry, disappointed, downtrodden, depressed, sick, and oppressed need to see and experience this goodly theme.

The writer of Revelation indicates that only those names written in the Lamb’s book of life will experience the goodly theme. Is it obvious who is not written in the Lamb’s book of life? Oh how the church pursues naming those who are in and those who are out. This behavior, so divisive, clearly does not announce the goodly theme.

The religious leaders of Jesus’s day wanted him dead. They plotted to destroy him. As I ponder the significance of daily worship, in community, I wonder if its absence in my like causes me to behave like one who plots Jesus’s demise as opposed to living the goodly theme. I wonder for myself and ask other leaders in Jesus’s movement to do the same.

Scripture readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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