Showing posts from April, 2019

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.

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."

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…