Archive for August 2, 2017

Psalms 22 and 23   1 comment

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POST VIII OF LX

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The Book of Common Prayer (1979) includes a plan for reading the Book of Psalms in morning and evening installments for 30 days.  I am therefore blogging through the Psalms in 60 posts.

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Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 226

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The sure provisions of my God attend me all my days;

oh, may thy house by mine abode and all my works be praise.

–Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

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Most of Psalm 22 is a Good Friday text, for excellent reasons.  The author, apparently seriously ill, recovers then thanks God by the end.  One who reads the beginning of Psalm 22 without considering the conclusion of the text reads the psalm erroneously.

Part of the wonder of the Book of Psalms is that one can read its texts properly in a variety of settings.  Psalm 22 can be the prayer of a seriously ill person, for example.  It can also become the plea of a man or a woman in some other dire situation, with its ending offering hope.  Psalm 22 can also be a fine text for Good Friday.

Psalm 23 has become so familiar as to lose its power as one goes on autopilot when reading or reciting it.  Whenever one encounters a portion of scripture with which one is familiar, the temptation to use the autopilot setting might become difficult to resist.  Such a text is certainly one with which one can be more familiar.  The Biblical scholarly consensus regarding the end of Psalm 23 is that only divine goodness and mercy are pursuing the author; the enemies cannot keep up with God.  “Pursue” is a better word than the weaker “follow,” to be sure.  Yet there is another option.  Divine goodness and mercy might also attend one, as two attendants might accompany a deity in ancient mythology or a dignitary in real life.  Whether divine goodness and mercy pursue or attend the faithful, the text offers comfort.

Psalms 22 and 23 offer comfort to the faithful in the midst of enemies.  One might recall the words of St. Paul the Apostle from the Letter to the Romans:

If God is on our side, who is against us?

–Romans 8:31b, The Revised English Bible (1989)

This does not mean, of course, that the faithful will never suffer and that some will not experience martyrdom, but it does not mean that, in the end, enemies will fail to have power over one.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST SAINT PETER JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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Posted August 2, 2017 by neatnik2009 in Psalm 22, Psalm 23, Romans 8

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Psalms 19-21   1 comment

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POST VII OF LX

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The Book of Common Prayer (1979) includes a plan for reading the Book of Psalms in morning and evening installments for 30 days.  I am therefore blogging through the Psalms in 60 posts.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:

Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,

that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,

which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer (1979), page 226

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Psalms 20 and 21 are related to each other.  They are royal Psalms.  The first is a congregational prayer for the king before a battle.

Some through chariots,

and others through horses,

But we through the Name of our God are strong.

–Psalm 20:8, Mitchell J. Dahood translation

Psalm 21 is the royal thanksgiving for that victory in battle.

The wonderfully quotable Psalm 19, based partially on a Canaanite hymn to the Sun, appropriates that older text and alters it to praise YHWH then proceeds to extol the Law of God.  The Law, the author of Psalm 19 tells us, is just.  The Law enlightens servants of God.  The Law is more desirable than earthly wealth.

One accustomed to Pauline interpretations of the Law (often with regard to grace) might find this understanding of divine Law alien to one’s background and way of thinking.  This might be especially true if one grew up with the stereotype of late Second Temple Judaism as a legalistic religion.  Yet one would do well to think of adherence to divine commandments (timeless principles, as opposed to irrelevant culturally specific examples thereof) as a faithful response to God.  Mistaking culturally specific examples for timeless principles is a short cut to legalism.

May we, responding faithfully to God, recognize our dependence on God and our interdependence on each other.  May we treat each other with the human dignity commiserate with bearing the image of God, as divine Law commands us to do.  May we also struggle faithfully with those bloody portions of scripture that contradict that ethic.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 2, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF GEORG WEISSEL, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ANNA BERNADINE DOROTHY HOPPE, U.S. LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GOTTFRIED GEBHARD, GERMAN MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MUSIC EDUCATOR

THE FEAST SAINT PETER JULIAN EYMARD, FOUNDER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE SERVANTS OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT, AND THE ORGANIZER OF THE CONFRATERNITY OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

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