Psalm 100 - Enter his gates

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A Psalm of thanksgiving.
1) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2) Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

3) Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4) Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5) For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100
Proper 6, Sunday between June 12 and June 18, Year A
Christ the King, Year A

Church musicians, worship leaders, tambourine-shakers, singers, and shouters all cite this psalm's authorization of their activities. And rightly so. Worship is a time to bring it, bring your best, to be exuberant, all-in, full-throated in praise, adoration, and communion with God.

It is worth noting that the psalm does not bless every noise-making activity. It instead commands the faithful …

Psalm 13 - Sorrow in my heart

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To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1) How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2) How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3) Consider and answer me, O Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
4) and my enemy will say, “I have prevailed”;
my foes will rejoice because I am shaken.

5) But I trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6) I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13
Proper 8, Sunday between June 26 and July 2, Year A

This psalm expresses anguish and hope, a plea for help, and describes a relationship with the Lord, all in six compact verses.

It starts with a frequent question. "How long, O Lord"? We hear this in at least seven psalms, and elsewhere in the Hebrew scriptures, because it is human to wonder wh…

Psalm 119 מ Mem - Oh, how I love your law!

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97) Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
98) Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is always with me.
99) I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my meditation.
100) I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101) I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102) I do not turn away from your ordinances,
for you have taught me.
103) How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104) Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

Psalm 119:97-104
Proper 24, Sunday between October 16 and October 22, Year C, verses 97-104

"Torah," in Hebrew means law, or instruction, direction or way, and also refers to the first five books of both the Hebrew and Christian Bible.

There is an annual Jewish holiday, Simchat Torah, which means "Rejoicing in Torah." It is customary to da…

Psalm 128 - You shall be happy

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A Song of Ascents.
1) Happy is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways.
2) You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.

3) Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4) Thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.

5) The Lord bless you from Zion.
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
6) May you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!.

Psalm 128
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

What a simple prayer: may things go well for you and yours.

In fact, the psalm is stronger. It is not a blessing or a hope. Most of the psalm is phrased as declarations. Happy is... You shall...

It assumes that blessing follows from "fear of the Lord."

"Fear" in this context means more than the physical and emotional reaction of fear. Awe, rever…

Psalm 86 - Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer

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A Prayer of David.
1) Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2) Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3) be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all day long.
4) Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5) For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
6) Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my cry of supplication.
7) In the day of my trouble I call on you,
for you will answer me.

8) There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9) All the nations you have made shall come
and bow down before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10) For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11) Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12) …

Psalm 142 - My persecutors are too strong for me

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A Maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A Prayer.
1) With my voice I cry to the Lord;
with my voice I make supplication to the Lord.
2) I pour out my complaint before him;
I tell my trouble before him.
3) When my spirit is faint,
you know my way.

In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.
4) Look on my right hand and see—
there is no one who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for me.

5) I cry to you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.”
6) Give heed to my cry,
for I am brought very low.

Save me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.
7) Bring me out of prison,
so that I may give thanks to your name.
The righteous will surround me,
for you will deal bountifully with me.

Psalm 142
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

"Save me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me."

Persecution is a terrible …

Psalm 121 - From where will my help come?

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A Song of Ascents.
1) I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
2) My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

3) He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4) He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5) The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6) The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7) The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8) The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.

Psalm 121
2nd Sunday of Lent, Year A
Proper 24, Sunday between October 16 and October 22, Year C

This much beloved song is frequently turned to in time of crisis or trouble. I remember it as the first scripture read in James Chapel on September 11, 2001, shortly before I headed downtown to see what, if anything, I could do. From where will my help come?

I have heard it in the hospital. At …