The days of our life are soon gone, and we fly away, reminds the psalmist in today’s psalm. So, we are to count our days, and live our lives with courage – to wake up, and let Christ shine on us. This poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow charges us to do just that – to act in the living present, that each tomorrow might find us farther than today, and to be a hero in the strife. But as we continue living through this pandemic, it is the last line of this poem that currently resonates with me – the closing invitation for us to “learn to labor and to wait.

Opening Prayer

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. In you, O God, I place my trust. Help me now to quiet myself and listen, that the thoughts and prayers of my heart might be pleasing to you. Amen

Psalm 90:1-6, 10-12

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
  in all generations. 
Before the mountains were brought forth, 
  or ever you had formed the earth and the world, 
  from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 
You turn us back to dust, and say, 
  “Turn back, you mortals.” 
For a thousand years in your sight
  are like yesterday when it is past, 
  or like a watch in the night. 
You sweep them away; 
  they are like a dream, 
like grass that is renewed in the morning; 
  in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; 
  in the evening it fades and withers.
The days of our life are seventy years, 
  or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; 
even then their span is only toil and trouble; 
  they are soon gone, and we fly away. 
Who considers the power of your anger? 
  Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. 
So teach us to count our days 
  that we may gain a wise heart.

Scripture Readings

I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time. – Ephesians 5:14-16

Devotional Poem: “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers, 
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers, 
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! 
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest, 
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, 
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow 
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting, 
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating 
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world’s broad field of battle, 
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle! 
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! 
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present! 
Heart within, and God o’erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us 
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us 
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another, 
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, 
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing, 
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing, 
Learn to labor and to wait.

Closing Prayer

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations, and you promise to be with us wherever we go. But, as you remind us, much of our life is only toil and trouble. When it is, Lord, help me to be strong and courageous. Help me to act in the living present, trusting in you, that I might make a difference in your world. Help me to leave footprints on the sands of this day, that those around me might be helped to take heart again. Teach me to labor and to wait, and always to trust, in the name of your son, Jesus. Amen

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