Psalm 116 is one of my favorites for one particular reasons. It is the carving on my parents’ grave of verse 13: ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his servants.’ They were precious in their life, and now in their death they are precious to God. My mother died in 1989, my father this past February. To think, to believe, to trust they are precious with God now is a balm.
There are also 2 other verses that are not so much favorites but a reminder. Verses 12 and 16: ‘I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.’ I made a vow to God in January, 2002 to be a priest. There have been moments of knowing that vow was the best I could ever offer God; very different from a marriage vow, and yet ver similar. When I came to the parish I now serve, there was a celebration of New Ministry. A prayer contained within that celebration is one I have prayed many, many times. It’s not in the Psalms, but a portion of it belongs here:
O Lord my God…you have called your servant to stand in your house, and to serve at your altar. To you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit…may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do…and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn into your blessed kingdom…
That prayer is precious to me for it reminds me of Psalm 116: 12,16. A vow made, not to be broken nor set aside. Just as my parents are precious to God, I pray God may always be precious to me.