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Psalm 72 - Give the king your justice, O God

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Prayer for Guidance and Support for the King Of Solomon..
1) Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2) May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
3) May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.
4) May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
5) May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6) May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
7) In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

8) May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9) May his foes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust.
10) May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts. 11) May all kings fall down before him, all…

Psalm 11 - What can the righteous do?

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To the leader. Of David.
1) In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me,
"Flee like a bird to the mountains;
2) for look, the wicked bend the bow,
they have fitted their arrow to the string,
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
3) If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?"

4) The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.
5) The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
and his soul hates the lover of violence.
6) On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and sulfur;
a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7) For the Lord is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.

Psalm 11
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

When you are under threat, there are three basic survival reactions: fight, flight, or freeze, and each of these relates to a strategy. In mass shooter training, participant…

Psalm 87 - The Lord loves the gates of Zion

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Of the Korahites. A Psalm. A Song.
1) On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
2) the Lord loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
3) Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God.
Selah

4) Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia—
"This one was born there," they say.

5) And of Zion it shall be said,
"This one and that one were born in it";
for the Most High himself will establish it.
6) The Lord records, as he registers the peoples,
"This one was born there."
Selah

7) Singers and dancers alike say,
"All my springs are in you."

Psalm 87
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

Jerusalem, O Jerusalem. The city is justly fabled. People have invested heart and soul in it for millennia. Some talk about a particular quality of light and atmosphere unique to the place, and its complicated religious history is like that …

Psalm 79 - They have poured out their blood like water

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A Psalm of Asaph.
1) O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple;
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
2) They have given the bodies of your servants
to the birds of the air for food,
the flesh of your faithful to the wild animals of the earth.
3) They have poured out their blood like water
all around Jerusalem,
and there was no one to bury them.
4) We have become a taunt to our neighbors,
mocked and derided by those around us.

5) How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealous wrath burn like fire?
6) Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call on your name.
7) For they have devoured Jacob
and laid waste his habitation.

8) Do not remember against us the iniquities of our ancestors;
let your compassion come speedily to meet us,
for we are brought very low.
9) Help us, O God of our salvation,
for the glory of yo…

Psalm 74 - Why do you cast us off forever?

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A Maskil of Asaph.
1) O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2) Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,
which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.
3) Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.

4) Your foes have roared within your holy place;
they set up their emblems there.
5) At the upper entrance they hacked
the wooden trellis with axes.
6) And then, with hatchets and hammers,
they smashed all its carved work.
7) They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrated the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it to the ground.
8) They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9) We do not see our emblems;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how…

Psalm 134 - Lift up your hands

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A Song of Ascents.
1) Come, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
who stand by night in the house of the Lord!
2) Lift up your hands to the holy place,
and bless the Lord.
3) May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth,
bless you from Zion.

Psalm 134 (NRSV*)
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

This shortest of psalms says a lot.

There is an invitation to come, come and bless the Lord. It is directed to a certain class of faithful ones, those who keep watch at night in the house of the Lord. They are to lift up their hands to the holy place.

The psalms were the hymn book of the Temple. As a "song of Ascents," Psalm 134 was sung by worshippers ascending the hill to the Temple. It seems that those "servants of the Lord who stand by night in the house of the Lord" were the actual night shift in the Jerusalem Temple.

But the psalms are reusable and can be re-purposed.

We might today pray it more broadly. "Servants of the L…

Psalm 113 - From the rising of the sun

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1) Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
praise the name of the Lord.

2) Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.
3) From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
4) The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens.

5) Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
6)who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7) He raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8) to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9) He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

Psalm 113
Proper 20, Sunday between September 18 and September 24, Year C

Blessed be the name of the Lord from now until forever. That's a lot of blessing.

Some will know this psalm from the song, popular in evangelical churches:
&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp From the rising of…

Psalm 129 - They attacked me from my youth

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A Song of Ascents.
1) "Often have they attacked me from my youth"
—let Israel now say—
2) "often have they attacked me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.
3) The plowers plowed on my back;
they made their furrows long."
4) The Lord is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
5) May all who hate Zion
be put to shame and turned backward.
6) Let them be like the grass on the housetops
that withers before it grows up,
7) with which reapers do not fill their hands
or binders of sheaves their arms,
8) while those who pass by do not say,
"The blessing of the Lord be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the Lord!".

Psalm 129
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

How troubling it is to continually be subject to attack? Imagine... a lifetime of assaults, indignities, and abuse, starting as early as the cradle. Can there be a day free from threat?

The psalm's context is Zion, with n…

Psalm 33 - The word of the Lord is upright

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1) Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
Praise befits the upright.
2) Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
3) Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

4) For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5) He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
6) By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
7) He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
he put the deeps in storehouses.
8) Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9) For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10) The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11) The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
12) Happy…

Psalm 103 - Bless the Lord, O my soul

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Of David.
1) Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
2) Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
3) who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4) who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5) who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6) The Lord works vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7) He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8) The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9) He will not always accuse,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10) He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11) For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12) as far as the east is from the west,
so fa…

Psalm 101 - I will sing of loyalty and justice

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Of David. A psalm.
1) I will sing of loyalty and of justice;
to you, O Lord, I will sing.
2) I will study the way that is blameless.
When shall I attain it?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
3) I will not set before my eyes
anything that is base.

I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
4) Perverseness of heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.
5) One who secretly slanders a neighbor
I will destroy.
A haughty look and an arrogant heart
I will not tolerate.
6) I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,
so that they may live with me;
whoever walks in the way that is blameless
shall minister to me.
7) No one who practices deceit
shall remain in my house;
no one who utters lies
shall continue in my presence.

8) Morning by morning I will destroy
all the wicked in the land,
cutting off all evildoers
from the city of the Lord.

Psalm …

Psalm 120 - Deliver me from lying lips

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A Song of Ascents.
1) In my distress I cry to the Lord,
that he may answer me:
2) “Deliver me, O Lord,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.”

3) What shall be given to you?
And what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
4) A warrior’s sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!

5) Woe is me, that I am an alien in Meshech,
that I must live among the tents of Kedar.[1]

6) Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
7) I am for peace;
but when I speak,
they are for war.

Psalm 120 (NRSV*)
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

This is one of those short, "simple" psalms, yet it says a lot in seven verses. We all know about lying lips.

I do not know if lying is relatively constant across time. I do know that we are presented daily with falsehood presented as truth. Swimming in a sea of lies, the ripples and eddies and whirlpools threatening to suck us under may make it very hard to s…

Psalm 50 - Gather to me my faithful ones

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A Psalm of Asaph.
1) The mighty one, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2) Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
3) Our God comes and does not keep silence,
before him is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around him.
4) He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
5) "Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
6) The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.
Selah

7) “Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
8) Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
9) I will not accept a bull from your house,
or goats from your folds.
10) For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
11) I know all the birds of the air,
and all that mo…

Psalm 109 - Do not be silent, O God of my praise

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To the leader. Of David. A Psalm
1) Do not be silent, O God of my praise.
2) For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
3) They beset me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
4) In return for my love they accuse me,
even while I make prayer for them.
5) So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

6) They say, "Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand on his right.
7) When he is tried, let him be found guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin.
8) May his days be few;
may another seize his position.
9) May his children be orphans,
and his wife a widow.
10) May his children wander about and beg;
may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit.
11) May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil.
12) May there be no one to do him a kindness,
nor anyone to pity his orphaned children.
13) May his posterity be …

Psalm 81 - I hear a voice I had not known

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To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.
1) Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2) Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3) Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
4) For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5) He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over the land of Egypt.

I hear a voice I had not known:
6) "I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7) In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Selah
8) Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9) There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10) I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I w…

Psalm 49 - The ransom of life is costly

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To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
1) Hear this, all you peoples;
give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
2) both low and high,
rich and poor together.
3) My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
4) I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.

5) Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
6) those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7) Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
there is no price one can give to God for it.
8) For the ransom of life is costly,
and can never suffice,
9) that one should live on forever
and never see the grave.

10) When we look at the wise, they die;
fool and dolt perish together
and leave their wealth to others.
11) Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they named lands their own.
12) Mo…

Psalm 107 - Some were sick

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To the leader: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.
1) O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2) Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
3) and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
4) Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
5) hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6) Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
7) he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.
8) Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
9) For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things.

10) Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and in irons,
11)for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12) Their hearts…