Psalm 146 - Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!

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Psalm 146 (NRSV)
3rd Sunday in Advent, Year A, verses 5-10
Proper 5, Year C, Sunday between June 5 and June 11
Proper 18, Year B, Sunday between September 4 and September 10
Proper 21, Year C, Sunday between September 25 and October 1
Proper 27, Year B, Sunday between November 6 and November 12

Can you praise the Lord with a political agenda? Yes!

This psalm sets the Lord above all human authorities and systems. Put not your trust in princes, mere mortals, who do not deliver on God's promises.

The Lord God rises far above all others. Not only are there those little details of making heaven and earth and sea and all that lives. There is also that little detail of keeping faith forever.

And this psalm highlights a particular dimension of God's faithfulness. God takes sides in human affairs. God is an eye-opening, justice-doing, underdog-lifting, prisoner-freeing, immigrant-protecting, hungry-feeding, ever-loving liberator. It is easy to hear this psalm and the God it lifts up again in the New Testament. Perhaps this is heard nowhere more clearly than in the Song of Mary, the Magnificat, which highlights both that God exalts the lowly and casts down the mighty.

You may know the popular proverb "If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." This psalm and other scripture in this same vein strongly suggest that the powers of this world are part of the problem, insofar as they offer "no help" to the problems faced by far to many people on this good earth. God is in the righteousness and justice business, and if you are not on that same mission, you are part the problem.

It is good news that this Lord will reign forever! Praise the Lord!

Credits:
TripAdvisor, Ottawa Jail Hostel.
Sgt. Daniel West, Children watch El Salvadoran soldiers prepare to distribute food, clothing, school supplies and wheelchairs, Numaniyah, Iraq, June 18, 2008. Public domain.

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