Showing posts from 2020

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 …

Psalm 68 - Proclaim the power of God

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For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song.
1) May God arise, may his enemies be scattered;
may his foes flee before him.
2) May you blow them away like smoke—
as wax melts before the fire,
may the wicked perish before God.
3) But may the righteous be glad
and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.

4) Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
5) A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6) God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

7) When you, God, went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness,
8) the earth shook, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9) You gave abundant showers, O God;
you refreshed your weary inheritance.
10) Your pe…

Psalm 2 - Why plot in vain?

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1) Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2) The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3) “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”

4) He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5) Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6) “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

7) I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8) Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9) You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10) Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11) Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling
12) kiss his feet,
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;

Psalm 21 - In your strength

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To the leader. A Psalm of David.
1) In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord,
and in your help how greatly he exults!
2) You have given him his heart’s desire,
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
3) For you meet him with rich blessings;
you set a crown of fine gold on his head.
4) He asked you for life; you gave it to him—
length of days forever and ever.
5) His glory is great through your help;
splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6) You bestow on him blessings forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7) For the king trusts in the Lord,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

8) Your hand will find out all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9) You will make them like a fiery furnace
when you appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
and fire will consume them.
10) You will destroy their offspring from the earth,
and the…

Psalm 60 - O God, you have rejected us

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To the leader: according to the Lily of the Covenant. A Miktam of David; for instruction;
when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when
Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
1) O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses;
you have been angry; now restore us!
2) You have caused the land to quake; you have torn it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
3) You have made your people suffer hard things;
you have given us wine to drink that made us reel.

4) You have set up a banner for those who fear you,
to rally to it out of bowshot.
5) Give victory with your right hand, and answer us,
so that those whom you love may be rescued.

6) God has promised in his sanctuary:
"With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
7) Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet;
Judah is my scepter.
8) Moab is my washbasin;

Psalm 119:33-40 ה He - Give me understanding

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33) Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes,
and I will observe it to the end.
34) Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35) Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36) Turn my heart to your decrees,
and not to selfish gain.
37) Turn my eyes from looking at vanities;
give me life in your ways.
38) Confirm to your servant your promise,
which is for those who fear you.
39) Turn away the disgrace that I dread,
for your ordinances are good.
40) See, I have longed for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life.

Psalm 119
7th Sunday after Epiphany, Year A, verses 33-40
Sunday between May 24 and 28, Year B, verses 1-13, 22
Proper 18, Sunday between September 4 and September 10, Year A

In this fifth section of the longest psalm, we see, and put on our own lips, the problem of internalizing, of truly grasping and loving God's law. The opening verses asks not "What is

Psalm 12 - They utter lies to each other

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To the leader: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
1) Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
2) They utter lies to each other;
with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.

3) May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
the tongue that makes great boasts,
4) those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail;
our lips are our own—who is our master?”

5) “Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
“I will place them in the safety for which they long.”
6) The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

7) You, O Lord, will protect us;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
8) On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Psalm 12
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

You've probably heard the sayin…

Psalm 131 - I have calmed and quieted my soul

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A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1) O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.

2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.

Psalm 131
8th Sunday after Epiphany, Year A
Sunday between May 24 and 28, Year A

One immediately thinks of trauma. Something has happened to disturb and disquiet this soul.

We are not talking about an infant who cries naturally when they are hungry or suffering the daily ups and downs of a life that is more complicated than their comprehension.

This is the voice of an adult, who finds comfort by limiting what they see, by retreating, becoming "like a child." But they are not curled into a fetal position, they are not seeking a life only of eating and sleeping. A weaned child is one…

Psalm 95 - People of his pasture

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1) O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2) Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3) For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4) In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5) The sea is his, for he made it,
and the dry land, which his hands have formed.

6) O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7) For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice!
8)&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9) when your ancestors tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10) For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people whose hearts g…

Psalm 53 - Are there any who are wise?

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To the leader: according to Mahalath. A Maskil of David.
1) Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts;
there is no one who does good.

2) God looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.

3) They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.

4) Have they no knowledge, those evildoers,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and do not call upon God?

5) There they shall be in great terror,
in terror such as has not been.
For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly;
they will be put to shame, for God has rejected them.

6) O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
When God restores the fortunes of his people,
Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.

Psalm 53
Not included in the Revised Common Lectionary.

We know those who look at the world and wonder if there any who ar…

Psalm 40 - I have told the glad news

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To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
1) I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2) He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3) He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

4) Happy are those who make
the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
5) You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted.

6) Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7) Then I said, “Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
8) I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law…

Psalm 112 - The desire of the wicked comes to nothing

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1) Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
2) Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3) Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4) They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5) It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6) For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered forever.
7) They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
8) Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9) They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn is exalted in honor.
10) The wicked see it and are angry; they gnash their teeth and melt away;