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The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
- Psalm 103:8
As someone who grew up in a Christian home yet had never gone to a Good Friday service, the idea of celebrating that particular holy day seemed foreign to me - more like an extra day for the Catholics to attend mass. Of course the cross was a big deal, but wasn’t Easter the “big day”, the day that Jesus proved he was God and assured our salvation? If salvation is what we praise Jesus for, then why not just get to the “good stuff”?
But as we sat and dwelt in the story of Jesus humbly submitting himself to abusive authorities, unjust proceedings, and the shame of the cross, all amidst outright betrayal and abandonment by those He sacrificially loved without exception, the high cost of salvation began to sink in. My joy in Easter was heightened to the extent that the depth of Good Friday was appreciated. Salvation, I learned, can only be treasured by grasping what an all-powerful God has done to remember and fulfill his promise to we who pridefully cast him aside.
Salvation is something I simultaneously desperately want for other people yet seem to utterly take for granted for myself. The gravity of Good Friday slips away daily, as I forget the truth of what it means that I am saved. It is here when pieces of Scripture like Psalm 103 speak life-giving reminders to my soul. In this psalm, I am reminded that the Lord is enthroned on high, that his kingdom rules over all (v. 19). I am reminded that I am dust and my days are like grass in comparison to his eternal nature (v. 14-15). I am reminded that the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (v. 8). I am reminded that the Lord has forgiven all my iniquity and redeemed my life from the pit (v. 3-4), that in his graciousness he has not dealt with me according to my sin (v. 10). I am reminded that it is he who has removed my transgressions as far as the east is from the west (v. 12). And I am reminded that in light of the amazing work that God has done for my salvation, all that is within me should bless his holy name in joyful response (v. 1).
I encourage you to meditate on Psalm 103 and savor the salvation offered to you by a God whose steadfast love is from everlasting to everlasting (v. 17).
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children's children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Ashley is a member of Cornerstone and serves as a Web Content Editor.
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