Jesus our Redeemer, teach us this day faithfulness.

Jesus our Friend, inspire us to act with kindness and mercy.

Jesus the Christ, calm our spirit in the ways of grace and peace.

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Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with celebration! Come before him with shouts of joy! Know that the Lord is God— he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture.

Psalm 100:1-3

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Our culture values a system of meritocracy. You earn your right to success. Hard work leads to strong results. We learn this at an early age, receiving medals and trophies as winners of competitions. We all know that grades matter to get into the right schools, leading you one step closer towards that lucrative career. Work ethic matters.

All of this makes sense in our earn-your-keep system, but none of this is the reason the psalmist celebrates.

In today’s passage, the psalmist sings loudly and proudly because of one simple fact, and it is this: God made us. We have no control over this truth and mystery. Meritocracy has no value when it comes to grace. We can’t earn it. And so the truth and mystery remain: God made us.

This is why the psalmist celebrates. This is why the psalmist sings with a festive spirit, audible cheers, song, and dance. And this is why, on this day, we shall celebrate. For God made you and me.

Aram Bae

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I thank you, God, for creating me and this family of faith to which I belong. Remind me that there is nothing I can do to earn or lose your love for me and the faith you hold in me. May I celebrate this truth and mystery no matter the circumstances, for your grace is sufficient. I celebrate that I am loved by you, created to shine your light in a world that so desperately needs it. Amen.

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May Jesus the Christ bless you and keep you.

May Jesus the Christ smile upon you and be gracious towards you.

And may Jesus the Christ lead you on this day in the path of wisdom and peace.

And all of God’s people said,


Aram Bae

Aram Bae is the Associate Pastor for Youth & Mission at First Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA. She also adjuncts on occasion, teaching classes on faith development and religious identity.

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Mark Hayes

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