May all who call upon God experience hesed (loyal, steadfast love).
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 107:
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.
Today is All Saints Day. Our Book of Common Worship tells us, “In the Reformed tradition, the emphasis of this festival is on the ongoing sanctification of the whole people of God. While we may give thanks for the lives of particular luminaries of ages past, we also give glory to God for the ordinary, holy lives of believers in this and every age.” Psalm 107 calls all people together, from every place on earth to praise God for all of the good things God has done and all of the terrible things God has saved us from. It’s hard to image that kind of gathering, especially now, with so much division and so many terrible things occurring all at once. But Psalm 107 shows that God can save us from multiple terrible scenarios, and love us no matter what. So, maybe we can have hope that in times of pain and strife, God is near.
This year, I hope we can give thanks for all believers, even those we disagree with. We are untied with all who believe in Christ, with all of the saints and sinners who have gone before us, and with all of the saints and sinners we will not meet in this lifetime. We are united with all believers in every time and place. Christ welcomes all of us. As we prepare for All Saints Day and Election Day, let us take a moment to remember who is here with us. In our memories and in our midst are holy people who were imperfect and made mistakes and yet found in Christ freedom from sin and death and went on to do God’s work in the world. In this great cloud of witnesses, we are surrounded by our enemies and our loved ones. And as we look into the face of each child of God, we realize that the things that divided us on this earthly world do not matter, there are no barriers between us, there are no harsh words or hatefulness, but only love and unity among the children of God. This life is a foretaste of the coming kingdom of God, where true justice restores us to one another, and where love unites us.
It is my hope and prayer that we, Third Church, can be examples of what it means to live in community as Christians; that we can show love to our neighbors no matter how they voted (or if they didn’t vote); that we can continue the work of Christ on earth, bringing justice, mercy and love to everyone. Amen.
Let us pray:
One way to think about breath prayer is that whatever is exhaled other people will inhale. So, sometimes we might inhale and exhale the same idea with the hope that what we receive from God, we can share with others. For example, you may imagine receiving God’s steadfast love while praying that others are receiving God’s steadfast love.
Another way to think about breath prayer is to pick something you would like to receive for your inhalation and something you would like to release for your exhalation. The idea is to keep it simple, so I encourage you to simply find one word for each inhale and one word for each exhale. That simple prayer could be something like this: God fill me with your Holy spirit. I receive your hope and release my fear.
Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
Sources and notes:
“Psalm 107 is a song that praises the loyal love (hesed) of the LORD shown in marvelous works of deliverance performed in answer to the cry o those in distress.” Mays p. 344
“Each stand is shaped in a similar way: an account of their adversity, their cry to the LORD, and his deliverance; then a summons to praise the LORD for his hesed.” Mays p. 344
Two patterns unite the psalm. The first is that of the imperative hymn in verse 1 with its summons to thankful praise supported by a statement of the basis and content of the praise (God’s goodness, loyal love). …. The imperative is both a call to praise and a way to praise. All the redeemed are to hear the call and join in the song to exalt the redeemer whose loyal love has saved them. The second pattern is that of the narrative of deliverance from the prayer of thanksgiving. Its report of past trouble, of the cry to the LORD and of the LORD’s deliverance, is used to identify each of the four groups of the redeemed. …. This second pattern maintain the focus on what kind of praise is intended–not just the exaltation of what God is like and typically does–but thanksgiving for what he has specifically done for those who are gathered.” Mays p. 345
“Hesed is the goodness of the LORD as redeemer. It is at once an everlasting attribute of the character of God and occasional in its manifestation in saving actions.” Mays p. 346
“Individual salvation and corporate salvation are held together as the wonderful work of the LORD’s hesed.” Mays p. 347
“In Psalm 107 the hesed of the LORD is a matter of his relation to those who cry out to him. No other basis is mentioned than the goodness of he LORD and the cry of those in trouble.” Mays p. 348
“The psalm celebrates the deliverance of God both in the lives of individuals and in the life of the religious community. It celebrates, too, divine forgiveness which brings liberation and renewal of life to sinful men. As it praises, it intends also to teach concerning the way of folly and the way of wisdom. Divine providence concerning both the overthrown of tyrants and the blessing of the faithful is that God rules in the lives of men and works wonders of love and power.” WBC
“we are taught to be self-made persons–no need to cry to God for help, and consequently no need to thank God for anything. Seldom, if ever, does it occur to us that human life depends on God. Thus the message of Psalm 107 is simple but radical: There is ultimately no such thing as self-sufficiency, for human life depends on God.” NIB p. 610
WBC Allen, Leslie C. 1983. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 101-150. Vol. 21. Waco, TX: Word Books, Publisher.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. 1974. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. 8th ed. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Press.
Brueggemann, Walter. 2007. Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit. 2nd ed. Eugene, OR: Cascade.
Brueggemann Brueggemann, Walter. 2014. From Whom No Secrets Are Hid: Introducing the Psalms. Edited by Brent A. Strawn. 1st ed. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
WBC Craigie, Peter C. 1983. Psalms 1-50–Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 19. Waco, TX: Word Books.
Creach, Jerome Frederick Davis. 1998. Psalms: Interpretation Bible Studies. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.
NIB Keck, Leander E. 2015. The New Interpreters Bible Commentary. Vol. 3. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Mays Mays, James Luther. 1994. Psalms. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press.
McCann, J. C., & Howell, J. C. 2001. Preaching the Psalms. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Miller Miller, Patrick D. 1986. Interpreting the Psalms. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press.
Schlimm Schlimm, Matthew Richard. 2018. 70 Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know. Nashville, TN: Abington Press.
Spong Spong, M. (Ed.). (2020). The words of her mouth: Psalms for the struggle. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press.
WBC Tate, Marvin E. 1990. Word Biblical Commentary: Psalms 51-100. Edited by David Allan. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker. Vol. 20. Waco, TX: Word.
OTL Weiser, Artur. 1998. Old Testament Library: Psalms. Translated by Herbert Hartwell. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Manchester University 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.
Then we move into “ordinary time” which is broken up into sections throughout the liturgical year. Remember that the year starts with Advent (I started this adventure in Lent) so some of the ordinary Sundays have already happened.
Trinity -Ordinary Time- Christ the King: Trinity Sunday Psalm 35, 9th Sunday in Ordinary time Psalm 142, 10th Sunday in Ordinary time Psalm 74, 11th Sunday Psalm 7, 12th Sunday Psalm 55, 13th Sunday Psalm 56, and 14th Sunday Psalm 57 or Psalm 3.
The Apocalyptic Discourse 15th -19th Sundays in Ordinary time: 15th Sunday Psalm 17:8-14(15) or Psalm 83, 16th Sunday Psalm 54, 17th Sunday Psalm 50 or Psalm 105, 18thSunday Psalm 59, and 19th Sunday Psalm 37.
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ 24th – 33rd Sundays in Ordinary time: 24th Sunday Psalm 92, 25th Sunday Psalm 25, 26th Sunday Psalm 136, 27th Sunday Psalm 41, 29th Sunday Psalm 38 or Psalm 55, 30th Sunday Psalm 33: (1-10) 13-22, 31st Sunday Psalm 31 or Psalm 40, 32nd Sunday Psalm 71:15-24, 33rd Sunday Psalm 77, Christ the King Psalm 87 and Psalm 117, and All Saints Day Psalm 107.