Our God Is Kind and Merciful, Slow to Anger, Rich in Compassionate

The refrain for this Sunday appears so often in Hebrew Scriptures that it is called “the little creed,” a capsule profession of who God is and how God relates to us. In Psalm 103, the speaker praises the God whose graciousness has been shown in all moments of personal life – in actions of forgiveness and protection from life-threatening forces. God is holy. God pardons our sins, heals our ills, and redeems us from destruction. Unlike our sense of justice, God is merciful. We will often fail in our mission to imitate God’s perfection and holiness, but God is infinitely patient and faithfully waiting for us to be merciful. In singing this psalm we are called to profess “the little creed” as our own. We name the nature of God. As God forgives, so we forgive. May our singing of this psalm transform our hearts and our behavior.

My soul, bless God’s holy name!
My soul, bless the Most High, hold dear all God’s gifts!
Bless God, who forgives your sin and heals every illness,
who snatches you from death and enfolds you with tender care.

God is tender and caring, slow to anger, rich in love.
Not according to our sins does God deal with us,
nor requite us according to our crimes.
As far as east from west, so God removes our sins.

As tender as a parent is to a child, so gentle is God to believers.

[verses adapted from The Psalter © 1995, Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications.]