Blessed are you, O Lord, who keeps our soul among the living…

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me!
~Psalm 66 5-9 and 16-20

Twice in Psalm 66 God’s people are invited to come. First, all who worship God are to come and see. When God’s people gather it is natural to reflect on years past, weeks gone by or even yesterday and to see again what God has done. In corporate worship we take time to praise God who has kept our souls alive and not let our feet slip.  Ultimately, we are then inspired to do as St. Benedict once said, “Always we begin again.”

Next we are to come and hear, and to even be heard. The Psalmist moves us from corporate worship to a time of personal reflection about how God has listened to the voices of those living in right relationship with him. God cares about the cries our hearts and attends to our prayers with loving and gracious responses. It is good for us to recall and retell how God has preserved our souls with his steadfast love.

As I reread these passages, my mind wanders to the New Testament and Jesus’s words in Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus too invites us to come. And perhaps the Psalmist helps us understand that to learn from Jesus we must take the time to see him and hear from him. For in our coming and seeing as well as coming and hearing we are more equipped to be a people who find rest for our souls.

Blessed are you, O Lord, who keeps our soul among the living
and does not let our feet slip.

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