THROUGH IT ALL –
The compilers of the Psalter wanted to continue the theme of family involvement as part of their Songs of Ascent. There is something unsettling when only one parent in a family is dedicated to God and His purpose and destiny for their lives. Children tend to become confused and develop divided feelings of loyalty. The psalmist wanted to emphasize the importance of a family praying together and staying together. It is difficult for children to develop respect for God, His Word, and His sanctuary, if they do not see it in their parents. In that vein, parents can decide whether to become “zeros” or “heroes” to their children and extended family.
“Count your blessings if you reverence the LORD Eternal, and pattern your life after His plan for living right. When you are satisfied with what you’ve worked to accomplish, you will be successful and have a good life. Your spouse will support you as head of the house, and when you sit around the table with your children, they will be like branches off the same tree. I’m telling you, that’s how a person who respects the LORD Eternal will be honored. May the LORD Eternal bless you from His sanctuary; and may you share in all the good things available in the City of God for the rest of your life; and may you live to see your grandchildren grow up to adulthood. Peace be upon all believers.” Psalm 128:1-5
Reflection: At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, as Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto completed his floor exercise in the team competition with one final tumble run. Upon landing he experienced an awful searing sensation in his right leg. Fact was, he had shattered his kneecap. But the 26 year old Fujimoto reasoned that his team needed whatever points he might accumulate to upset the favored Soviets. Fujimoto decided to tell no one, not even coach Yakuji Hayata. In the next event, the pommel horse, Fujimoto agonized in pain during the routine. Yet, his intense concentration helped him score a 9.5. Then the last event, the rings, presented him with a daring challenge because it required a high-flying dismount from some 15 feet in the air. But Fujimoto gave the performance of his life on the rings, hurling his 123 pounds into a twisting triple-somersault dismount, bringing him down to a hard landing on the mat. He said later, that the pain sliced through him like a knife but he managed to keep his balance, with his right leg buckling only slightly. In spite of the agony he gritted his teeth, and with tears in his eyes he raised his arms in the traditional finish. The judged awarded him a 9.7, the highest score he’d ever earned on the rings. Even though his days as an active competitor ended on that fateful afternoon, Fujimoto, whose knee still troubles him periodically, will never be forgotten in Japan. To them, he is a hero. The psalmist calls on a similar form of courage for all those who perform as part of life’s team – the family. He wants to challenge every pilgrim to concentrate on the task at hand, and depend on God to help with the pain that comes with discipline and making rough decisions. Ask yourself, can your family depend on you to be courageous enough to keep going in spite of what must be endured? Just remember, your performance benefits them as much as it does you. In the end, faithfulness and commitment will make winners out of you all.