Click on the link for the Psalm above (my links show up as red words) or find it in your favorite Bible or digital Bible or listen to Psalm :
Bonus: The Lord’s Prayer is about the amount of time you need for hand scrubbing 😉
Breath Prayer: I am including breath prayers because this is the practice that I engage in most often. Sometimes, I simply manage my breathing as I would when I was singing as a warmup and strengthening exercise. This practice helps me to feel centered, strong, and connected with myself and the divine. Sometimes, I add words or intentions for the inhalation and exhalation.
In lectionary year D, Psalm 129 is paired with Matthew 18:1-14. When I read them together, I think, “Get out of God’s way”. God desires to dwell with us. We shouldn’t hold ourselves back from God; we should run to her like the children ran to Jesus. We shouldn’t stop other people for seeking to be close to God either. But getting out of the way of others spiritual journeys and getting out of our own way is sometimes difficult. Being close to God can mean painfully getting rid of what is in our way; sin burnt away in refining fire. Or it can mean ending a toxic relationship. None of this is easy. God is both our help and our hope.
Let us pray:
Holy Spirit, burn away any obstacle between God and God’s beloved. Turn away those who hate you and take it out on your beloved people. Cut away and destroy those who would distract your beloved, even if it is the beloved; we know that sometimes we get in our own way. Opposition to your sovereign love comes from those who oppose you and those who seek to do your will. Help us all to live by the grace of your steadfast love. God, fill us with your Holy Spirit.
Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
Breath in the love of God. Breath out the distractions and obstacles blocking you from connecting with the divine.
Beath in gentleness. Hold your breath like a hug. Breath out Severity. Let anger fizzle out.
Breath in gentleness. Breath out severity. Repeat as needed.
Sources and notes:
Psalms 120-134 bear the title “A Song of Ascents”. “…it is likely that this collection was originally used by pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem or as part of a festival celebration in Jerusalem.” NIB p. 684
“God’s sovereignty is always opposed. Thus the people of God experience the opposition directed at God.” NIB p. 670
“The people of God live ultimately by the grace of a steadfastly loving God, who is willing to bear opposition from all sides, including Israel and the church (see Ps 130:7-8).” NIB p. 670
“Psalm 129 is no trite statement of an easy faith of a shallow optimism. It is not insignificant that the song of confidence is an outgrowth of the prayer of complaint in which distress is tearfully brought before Yahweh. God’s people, as they san this song, were doubtless painfully aware not only of past ordeals but of present threats. They had learned both from history and from experience that the light of salvation lies at the end of a dark tunnel of suffering. They sang this song in the night, as it were. By faith rather than sight they clung to God’s past revelation of himself as champion of a particular city and people. With the courage that sprang from a real faith they dared to assert that their divine help in ages past was their hope for years to come.” WBC p. 190
Hymn #210 Our God, Our Help in Ages Past (Blue Presbyterian Hymnal)
Allen, Leslie C. 1983. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 101-150. Vol. 21. Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher.
Keck, Leander E. 2015. The New Interpreters Bible Commentary. Vol. 3. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Other Year D Psalm blog posts:
I’m attempting a series exploring the Psalms in year D. Many churches use the revised common lectionary that rotates scripture on a three-year cycle (A, B, and C). Year D was created with the goal of including scriptures that were left out or not used as frequently as others.
I began this series in Lent 2020. These blog posts include examples of meditation or spiritual discipline or mindfulness exercises. Here are the links: Ash Wednesday: Psalm 102; 1st Sunday in Lent: Psalm 6; 2nd Sunday in Lent: Psalm 143; 3rd Sunday in Lent: Psalm 38; 4th Sunday in Lent: Psalm 39; 5th Sunday in Lent: Psalm 101; 6th Sunday in Lent Psalm 94 or Psalm 35. I went a different direction during Holy Week and dropped the Psalms for a while, but I’m hoping to pick them back up again.
I’m going to try to move forward with the Psalms so that it might be useful for worship in the coming weeks and hoping that I can also go back and pick up some of the ones I missed.
The Season of Easter: Resurrection of the Lord (Easter) Psalm 71:15-24 or Psalm 75 or Psalm 76, 2nd Sunday in Easter Psalm 64 or Psalm 119:73-96, 3rd Sunday in Easter Psalm 60 or 108, 4th Sunday in Easter Psalm 10, 5th Sunday in Easter Psalm 49: (1-12) 13-20, 6thSunday in Easter Psalm 129, Ascension Thursday Psalm 119:145-176, 7th Sunday in Easter Psalm 115, and Pentecost Sunday Psalm 119:113-136.