“solid joys and lasting treasure, none but Zion’s children know” (Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken)
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 87:
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.
Nicole Cardoza’s Guided Meditation For Anxiety
Try this short meditation, created by Yoga Foster and Reclamation Ventures founder Nicole Cardoza, the next time you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious. Read in Yoga Journal.
Mr. Roger’s “Taking a breath” This one is short, but Mr. Roger’s voice is calming for me (and many Pittsburghers) and even his virtual presence can summon childhood memories of calmness and safety.
It is interesting to me that God’s roll call starts with Israels enemies. Maybe the lines drawn between people are not so clear after all. We are all children of God. Period. No exceptions. “Psalm 87 calls us, as Jesus called his followers, to love our enemies (see Matthew 5:43). To take Psalm 87 seriously, then, would have a profound impact on the international policy of the nations of our world. The dehumanization of other people – a tactic that feeds hostility and warfare – cannot claim God’s approval.” NIB p. 543 To take Psalm 87 seriously would mean that we cannot dehumanize those we disagree with, but we must speak to each other as children of the living God. This is hard work. We can’t Care Bear Stare our way to justice, equality, and love. For those of you who don’t remember the cartoon, according to wikipedia a Care Bear stare is “The Care Bears‘ ultimate weapon is the “Care Bear Stare“, in which the collected Bears stand together and radiate light from their respective tummy symbols. These combine to form a ray of love and good cheer which could bring care and joy into the target’s heart.” Friends, our thoughts and prayers must be followed by policy change and action if we want true reconciliation and restoration with our neighbors, so that we can all live as those called children of God.
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 love of all people and release my narrow view that love is just for some.
Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
Sources and notes:
Zion is the city of God. “The city of God is the spiritual home for people who live in all the nations.” Mays pp. 280-281
“It is God’s inexplicable love, which has no basis beyond its own existence, that led to the election of Israel (Deut. 7:8) and to the choice of Zion (Ps. 78:68-69), and will be expressed in the election of all people, the world, in Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Faith sees the earthy things God has chosen, not in terms of themselves alone, but in the light of what God’s love has made them. That is the reason glorifying songs are sun about Zion (v. 3).” Mays p. 281
“In verse 4, the LORD speaks and calls the roll of all those who know him as sovereign of the universe. Surprisingly, the roll begins with the two classic foes of Judah, and Rahab (a mythical name for Egypt) and Babylon. The three repeated three times is “born there.” The these is a theological metaphor that means that those who acknowledge the LORD have birthright status in Zion, no matter where they live. Their true home is the place toward which their spirits turn in yearning for God, and God declares that they were “born there” and makes it official by writing them in the book (69:28).” Mays p. 281
“Psalm 87 calls us, as Jesus called his followers, to love our enemies (see Matthew 5:43). To take Psalm 87 seriously, then, would have a profound impact on the international policy of the nations of our world. The dehumanization of other people – a tactic that feeds hostility and warfare – cannot claim God’s approval.” NIB p. 543
“our fundamental identity is not one that we eventually achieve; rather, it is one with which we are born and that we share with every other human being. We are children of God.” NIB p. 544
“The ability of Zion to function symbolically, thus proclaiming God’s sovereign claim upon all places and times and peoples, is evident in the frequent use by Christians of John Newton’s hymn “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.” The hymn departs from Ps 87:3, capturing well the symbolic dimension of the psalm. In short, this ancient song of Zion continues to articulate the Christian conviction of God’s gracious claim upon the whole world.” NIB p. 544
Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken
1 Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God;
he whose word cannot be broken
formed thee for his own abode;
on the Rock of Ages founded,
what can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded,
thou may’st smile at all thy foes.
2 See the streams of living waters,
springing from eternal love,
well supply thy sons and daughters,
and all fear of want remove;
who can faint while such a river
ever flows their thirst t’assuage?
Grace, which like the Lord, the giver,
never fails from age to age.
3 Round each habitation hov’ring,
see the cloud and fire appear
for a glory and a cov’ring,
showing that the Lord is near;
thus deriving from their banner
light by night and shade by day,
safe they feed upon the manna
which he gives them when they pray.
4 Savior, if of Zion’s city
I, thro’ grace, a member am,
let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in thy name;
fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
all his boasted pomp and show;
solid joys and lasting treasure
none but Zion’s children know.
Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #403
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.
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.
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.
Prelude to the Passion 20th -23rd Sundays in Ordinary time: 20th Sunday Psalm 58, 21stSunday Psalm 140, 22nd Sunday Psalm 68 or Psalm 120 or Psalm 82, and 23rd Sunday Psalm 141.
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, 29thSunday Psalm 38 or Psalm 55, 30th Sunday Psalm 33: (1-10) 13-22, 31st Sunday Psalm 31or Psalm 40, 32nd Sunday Psalm 71, 33rd Sunday Psalm 77, Christ the King Psalm 87 and Psalm 117, and All Saints Day Psalm 107.