Scripture Focus: Psalm 145.13-14
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

Isaiah 59.1
1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.

Reflection: One Who Can Reach
By John Tillman

As the “Arm of the Lord” is superior to the “arm of flesh” (2 Chronicles 32.8), the Kingdom of God is superior to human kingdoms. However, as the arm of flesh is puffed up and proud, the arm of the Lord reaches down to the lowly and lifts them up.

In his commentary on Psalm 145, Federico Villanueva reflects on the difficulty those raised up have in reaching down and lifting up the lowly.

“The common expression in Filipino, hindi na ma-reach (“can no longer be reached”), conveys how the higher one goes, the harder it is to reach those who are down below. But this is not the case for our God, who dwells in the highest place, and yet stoops down to help those who fall.”

Powerful humans lose touch with powerlessness and seem unable to resist abuses of power. Those who rise forget where they came from and despise those of low beginnings. Those on top ignore that others cleared a path for them, and they pull up the ladder behind them, preventing others’ success.

Some descriptions of God sacrifice his love and care for us to emphasize his glory and majesty. Some descriptions of God sacrifice his glory and majesty in an attempt to convey his intimate care for and presence with us. We need to hold these seemingly contradictory qualities of God together in tension.

Our God is not like a powerful human. Our God is never “out of touch.” He longs to welcome us as his children. God is powerful yet cares for the powerless. God does not forget where we come from, yet he does not despise us for our past. God is all-powerful and mighty, yet he uses his power for our good. He is one who can reach.

God’s glory is all the more glorious because he reaches down to the lowest of the fallen. The messiness of God’s presence in the incarnation makes his presence before creation and the end of time even more majestic and incomprehensible. God’s goodness and faithfulness to those who are neither faithful nor good is even more praiseworthy than if we were even marginally deserving.

Let us continue to celebrate the Advent of Christ, who is exalted because he made himself nothing and glorious because of the suffering of the cross. (Philippians 2.6-11)

The lower Jesus stoops, the more praiseworthy he is.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. — Psalm 144.5

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Chronicles 33  (Listen 4:01)
Psalms 145 (Listen 2:19)

Read more about He Stoops to Raise
He strips himself.
He lays aside
His Heaven
His throne
His clothes
His life

Read more about Pause To Read
Please keep spreading the word about our new podcast, Pause to Read. Share and rate the episodes to help others find the show.