Psalms 102 and 103   1 comment

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POST XXXIX 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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As a father has compassion for his children,

so the LORD has compassion for those who fear Him.

For He knows how we are formed;

He is mindful that we are but dust.

–Psalm 103:13-14, TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures (1985)

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Psalm 102 is outwardly a prayer of a seriously ill man.  Psalm 103 follows the recovery of the author from such an illness.  Psalm 102 seems actually to be a lament for destroyed Jerusalem and a prayer for the restoration of the kingdom, its capital, and the Temple.  In these texts divine discipline and compassion coexist.

Psalm 103, justly famous, includes the profound and beautiful passage I have quoted.  Psalm 103 contains much that is worthy of quoting and pondering; I recommend that you, O reader, spend quality time with the full text.  I also choose to focus on the quoted portion in this post  “Fear” is an unfortunate translation; “stand in awe of ” is better.  Also, the alternate translation of “dust” is “clay.”  We are, at any rate, physical and transient, but God is everlasting.  This passage also offers comfort when one, despite trying to follow God, falls on one’s face, so to speak.  God is on our side, ready to pick s up and help us to continue on the spiritual journey.  Moral perfectionism is unrealistic, for we are but dust/clay, but we can improve morally, by grace.

In The Didache, from the second century C.E., one reads of the two ways–the Way of Life and the Way of Death.  The Way of Life is to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself and to obey the Golden Rule.  The text expounds on this in terms more positive than negative for two and a half pages in my copy.  The Way of Death is evil; it leads to Hell.  The explanation of the Way of Death–just one paragraph–fills about one-third of a page.  In the conclusion  of the explanation of the Two Ways one reads the following:

If you can shoulder the Lord’s yoke in its entirety, then you will be perfect; but if that is too much for you, do as much as you can.

Early Christian Writings:  The Apostolic Fathers (New York, NY:  Penguin Books, 1987), page 193

Moral perfectionism is unrealistic, for we are but dust/clay, but we can improve morally, by grace.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 17, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, ANGLICAN PRIEST, PRESIDENT OF KING’S COLLEGE, “FATHER OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN CONNECTICUT,” AND “FATHER OF AMERICAN LIBRARY CLASSIFICATION;” TIMOTHY CUTLER, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, ANGLICAN PRIEST, AND RECTOR OF YALE COLLEGE; DANIEL BROWNE, EDUCATOR, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, AND ANGLICAN PRIEST; AND JAMES WETMORE, CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND ANGLICAN PRIEST

THE FEAST OF JONATHAN FRIEDRICH BAHNMAIER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Posted August 17, 2017 by neatnik2009 in Psalm 102, Psalm 103

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  1. Pingback: Guide Post to the Septuagint Psalter Project | BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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