September 03, 2017

Counting Our Blessings

Psalm 136

He remembered us in our low estate . . . His love endures forever.

—  Psalm 136:23

“Count your blessings, name them one by one. . . .” These words are part of an old hymn Christians have sung for more than 100 years, and the message is still important today. Cen­tral to the pilgrim journey we travel is taking stock of the gifts God has given us.

Psalm 136 has reminded people of this fact for well over 2,000 years, and it urges us to remember God’s goodness in community. In this psalm we can see a clear call-and-­response format. As God’s people sang this psalm together, a worship leader would sing the first phrase, and the people would respond with the refrain “His love endures forever.” Again and again they would recount what God had done for them—from freeing them, to feeding them, to remembering them. And as they counted their blessings, they would say, “His loves endures forever.”

Sometimes while worshiping with God’s people, I notice echoes of this psalm’s graceful rhythms. The wonders of God’s grace and forgiveness are declared, and the people sing a hymn of thanksgiving. The good news that Jesus saves and that God’s Spirit is at work among us is preached, and the people commit themselves to grateful service. At the end of the worship time, God’s promise of blessing is spoken over his people, and they receive it joyfully with an “Amen.”

With whom will you join to count your blessings today?

Lord, your works are wonderful. You have re­mem­bered us. Your love endures forever. Thank you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Ruth Boven

Ruth Boven serves as minister of congregational life at LaGrave Ave. CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Greg, have two adult children. They find rich purpose in urban ministry and delight in enjoying the wonders of God's good creation.

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