Whomever is wise, let them ponder these things, let all people reflect on the gifts of the Beloved.
(Nan Merrill, Psalms for Praying An invitation to wholeness)
Click on the link for the Psalm above for the text or listen to Psalm 107:
“The importance of land, a place to call one’s own is paramount in the words of Psalm 105, 106, and 107; it is a major concern of much of the Hebrew Bible text, and it is a significant issue in the twenty-first-century world. Every person needs a sense of belonging, of roundedness, of knowing where “home” is. For refugees, immigrants, those subject to forced migration, and those abandoned by their families that sense and knowledge of home is shattered. Such people will need a new sense of belonging, of knowing “home,” and those who know where “home” is are called on to embrace those who do not and help them find a sense of belonging, thereby allowing them to develop a story, their new “enduring literature”.” W p. 88
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.
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 what; that we can continue the work of Christ on earth, bringing justice, mercy and love to everyone.
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.
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.
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.
Or you may want to use a short phrase: I come home to you God and find peace and rest.
Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
Sources and notes:
“Psalm 107, a community hymn of praise, opens book 5 of the Psalter. Its opening words, in verses 1-3, voiced in answer to the plea of Psalm 106:47 to “save us and gather us,” suggest that the two psalms, though in different books of the Psalter, were purposely juxtaposed. In addition, Psalm 107 continues the them of “land” addressed in Psalms 105 and 106. Book 5 moves readers or hearers from the exilic to the post exilic period of ancient Israel’s life, but the clear ties between Psalms 105 and 106 and Psalm 107 evince a continuity in the life of Israel from the exile in Babylon to the return to the land.” W p. 83
“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
“Four groups of people appear in the first thirty-two verses of Psalm 107, representing , perhaps, the “redeemed of the LORD” from the four points of the compass named in verse 3.” W p. 83
“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
“In Psalm 107, we read that the LORD makes it possible for the hungry to dwell safely in the land and establish a city; to sow fields, plant vineyards, and gather a harvest; and to have children and increase their cattle (vv. 36-38). In addition, the Lord pours contempt on rulers who oppress the people (vv. 39-40). The actions associated with YHWH in these verses are the actions of the “ideal sovereign” in ancient Israel.”
“In the ancient Near East one’s ability to live in security and provide for self and family required community. A strong leader who could crush the oppressor, ensure abundance of grain, defend the poor and needy, and such was essential to community life. In their post exilic situation the people of Israel were allowed to return to Jerusalem, to rebuild the temple, and to resume their worship practices, but they were vassals to the Persian government and could not have their own sovereign. Psalm 107 assures them that YHWH can and will be their source of security and provision in the post exilic period.” W p. 87
“The importance of land, a place to call one’s owns paramount in the words of Psalm 105, 106, and 107; it is a major concern of much of the Hebrew Bible text, and it is a significant issue in the twenty-first-century world. Every person needs a sense of belonging, of roundedness, of knowing where “home” is. For refugees, immigrants, those subject to forced migration, and those abandoned by their families that sense and knowledge of home is shattered. Such people will need a new sense of belonging, of knowing “home,” and those who know where “home” is are called on to embrace those who do not and help them find a sense of belonging, thereby allowing the to develop a story, their new “enduring literature”.” W p. 88
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.
DAFLER, J. (2021). PSOBRIETY: A journey of recovery through the psalms. Louisville, KY: WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX.
W de Claisse-Walford, Nancy L. WISDOM COMMENTARY: Psalms Bks. 4-5. Edited by Barbara E. Reid. Vol. 22. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2020.
W Hopkins, Denise Dombkowski. WISDOM COMMENTARY: Psalms Bks. 2-3. Edited by Barbara E. Reid. Vol. 21. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 2016.
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.
Merrill, N. C. (2020). Psalms for praying an invitation to wholeness (10th Anniversary Edition ed.). London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing.
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.
I began writing Psalm reflections during Lent of 2020 shortly after we decided to close the church building, work from home, and worship via zoom. Many churches use the revised common lectionary that rotates scripture on a three-year cycle (A, B, and C). Starting in Advent 2019, Third Church decided to worship with the texts from Year D, which is still not circulated as are years 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. Reflections exploring the Psalms in year D. While we were using Year D, most other lectionary followers were using Year A. Now that we are rejoining those who use the lectionary, we are on Year B. This we hope will keep all of us planning and preparing worship on the same page.
I use the Vanderbilt Divinity Library’s resource for lectionary readings to make text selections when I’m following the Revised Common Lectionary.
Other Year B Psalm blog posts:
Advent – Transfiguration: 1st Sunday in Advent Psalm 80, 2nd Sunday in Advent Psalm 85, 3rdSunday in Advent Psalm 126, 4th Sunday in Advent Psalm 89, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Psalm 96, Psalm 97, Psalm 98, 1st Sunday after Christmas, Psalm 148, New Year’s Day Psalm 8, 2nd Sunday after Christmas Psalm 147, Epiphany Psalm 72, 1st Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 29, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 139, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 62, 4th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 111, 5th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 147, Transfiguration Sunday (Sunday before Lent) Psalm 50
Lent: Ash Wednesday Psalm 51, 1st Sunday in Lent Psalm 25, 2nd Sunday in Lent Psalm 22, 3rdSunday in Lent Psalm 19, 4th Sunday in Lent Psalm 107, 5th Sunday in Lent Psalm 51 or Psalm 119:9-16, 6th Sunday in Lent (Palm or Passion Sunday) Psalm 118 or 31
Holy Week: Monday Psalm 36, Tuesday Psalm 71, Wednesday Psalm 70, Maundy Thursday Psalm 116, Good Friday Psalm 22, Holy Saturday Psalm 31