We finished the first chapter of Malachi in Sunday School. The "messenger" uses the images of father and master in reminding Israel how they no longer respect or honor God, they no longer fear God and have even grown to despise His altar. Whatever their polluted offerings might have been, we, too, disdain God when our prayer, worship, giving, and service are neglected, resented, done in an inferior way, treated as "left-overs", or done in a manner less than for someone we respect.
Psalm 103: "Bless the Lord, O my Soul, [...] who redeems your life from destruction [...]" The stories of God's redemption are about real people in real places in real times. One biblical usage of redemption refers to paying a ransom, but this Ps. 103 usage goes beyond mere payment and involves God's personal engagement in the rescuing. David is profoundly thankful for God's just being with him in his daily walk, for pulling him back from the brink of destruction, for saving his life.
I Peter I encapsulates our New Testament understanding of redemption: "The price was paid in precious blood, as it were of a lamb without mark or blemish -- the blood of Christ. [...] Through him you have come to trust in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, and so your faith and hope are fixed on God."
Our benediction was the third stanza from Fanny J. Crosby's hymn: "I think of my blessed Redeemer, I think of Him all the day long; I sing, for I cannot be silent; His love is the theme of my song. [...] Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it! His child and forever I am."