Psalm 115

Psalm 115

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.  

I did a breath prayer video for my friends at Missing Peace.

Reflection: There are memes going around social media comparing social isolation experiences to the movie “Groundhog Day”. One of the memes suggests that in order to get out of social isolation we must figure out what Bill Murry’s character did to finally break the cycle of Groundhog Days he was living in. What is this secret that will snap us out of living the same miserable day over and over and over? It is to stop being self-centered and to start thinking about, caring for, and loving each person we encounter. To stop thinking only about our miserable selves and look beyond our own complaints and listen to those who are truly suffering. Then live in a way to keep others safe (like wear you mask in public places) and to bring about healing in our world.

The psalmist might tell you to focus on God and not on idol worship. Sometimes when we imagine idols we think of big bronze bulls in the middle of public places that are worshiped for bringing in cash crops. Certainly, that’s something that only happened in ancient cultures. 😉 What is more likely today, we worship idols that we can’t actually see. We worship productivity, convenience, and the power of individual choices. But the truth is our work, business, busy-ness, is not who we are nor does it not determine our worth. The self-made idol will not ultimately save us. Only God determines who we are (beloved) and what we are worth (sacrificial love). Connivence is one of my favorite idols, because what I sacrifice to this idol doesn’t hurt me immediately. Single use plastic, Styrofoam, and my super-sized carbon footprint hurt the earth, pollute the water, and poison the air, all these sacrifices in the name of saving me time, extra work, and thought. And because I am so self important, so are my choices and preferences, so I put those on a pedestal far above the needs of others. In time, these false idols are useless, helpless, and those who worship them (myself included) are also rendered useless and helpless.

But this is not how the people of God are to behave.

The people of God worship only God. And we become like what we worship. We are made in God’s imagine and bear her likeness. Our hearts are formed after her heart. We are called to love as God loves. We live like those who are loved and blessed by God. We are called to rest, to give ourselves a sabbath and to allow others to have sabbath rest too. We are called to do what is right and to know the difference between what is right and what is easy. We are called to think of ourselves less and to think of others more often as we make our choices about the world we want to live in. And in doing so we are ushering in the kin-dom of God.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, you pour out the spirit of grace and supplication on all who desire it. Deliver us from cold hearts and wandering thoughts, that with steady minds and burning zeal we may worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Derived from William Bright, Ancient Collects and Other Prayers 1862, found in the Book of Common Worship).

Breath prayer: I receive your goodness, I release my ungodliness.

Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Goodness. Breath out. Ungodliness. Repeat as needed.

One of the windows in the Third Presbyterian Church chapel

Sources and notes:

“Psalm 115 begins and ends with an emphatic focus on community–“us” (v.1) and “we” (v.18)– but in each case, the community looks beyond itself. …. “Trust in God sets the community apart from those who make and worship idols. …. [warning against making/worshiping idols like other nations] is part of the liturgy of the congregation, it also serves to remind the community of the persistent temptation towards idolatrous self-centeredness that it professes to renounce.” p. 629

Keck, Leander E. 2015. The New Interpreters Bible Commentary. Vol. 3. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.

I’m also relying on my memory of “No Other Gods” by Ana Levy-Lyons. She takes a deep look into the ten commandments, making them relevant to modern ears and so convicts modern hearts.

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.  

Holy Week: Palm Sunday, 6th Sunday in Lent Psalm 94 or Psalm 35, Maundy Thursday Psalm 115 or 113, Good Friday Psalm 88, Holy Saturday (Great Vigil) Psalms 7, 17, 44, 57 or 108, 119:145-176, 149.

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.

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