8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
Click on the link for the Psalm above for the text or listen to Psalm 145:
To proclaim God is king means to allow mercy, love, and compassion to rule in our hearts and in our actions. Psalm 145 is a call for God to help and a call of all of us to be God’s hands and feet in our world. The kingdom of God is meant to be lived here on earth and we are co-creators of that kingdom. As God’s subjects, servants, beloved children (pick your metaphor) we obey God’s commands, serve as God calls us, and love as God loves.
God is compassionate so we show compassion.
God is merciful so we show mercy.
God abounding in steadfast love so as people full of God’s spirit we are full of love.
God keeps his word and so do we. We deal in truth.
When someone stumbles or falls, God gives a helping hand. We are God’s hands.
The eyes of all look to God, and God gives them their food in due season. We are seen. We give food.
By God’s own hand God satisfies the desires of all who live. We are God’s hands.
God is just in all ways, and kind in all doings. We work for justice. We are kind in all our doings.
God takes care of the beloved. We are all beloved. We are called to care for one another.
God creates beauty and goodness all around us. We co-create with joyful singing.
God, help me to be merciful, compassionate, and loving like you.
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 compassion and release my anger.
Or you may want to use a short phrase: Help me to be merciful, compassionate, and loving like you.
Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
Sources and notes:
acrostic, each phrase begins with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet
“Psalm 145 is the last of the group of eight psalms (Pss 138-145) at the end of book 5 of the Psalter that are ascribed, in their superscriptions, to David.” W p. 296
“The Babylonian Talmud tractate Berakot 4b states that Psalm 145, like the Shema (Deut. 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God; the LORD alone. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might”), is to be recited three times a day and everyone who does so “may be sure that he [or she] is a child of the world to come.” Psalm 145 appears in the Jewish Prayer Book more than any other psalm in the Psalter, and the Psalm scroll 11QPsa from Qumran contains a version of this psalm in which the refrain “Blessed is the LORD and blessed is his name forever and ever” is included after each verse, pointing to some sort of liturgical use. All indications are that the words of this psalm were and are a vital part of the faith of the Jewish people.” W p. 297
“Brueggemann and Bellinger state that the psalm is “a good example of a poetic structure of intensification as the descriptions pile up.” We observe this “piling up” of the words used to describe God’s workings in the world and the numerous verbs used to convey the means by which the generations and the psalm singers will make God’s greatness known in verses 4-7.” W p. 300
“The word translated “compassion” in verse 9 and the one translated “merciful” in verse 8 are both derived from the word, which literally means “womb,” depiction there an image of the womb-love of a feminine God for her created world.” W p. 300
“The centerpiece, both physically and thematically, of the acrostic Psalm 145 is verses 11-13. …. The initial letters of these lines, reversed, spell the Hebrew word for king, melek, and within verses 11 -13 the word “kingdom” occurs four times.” W p. 300
“The message for those who pray the psalms today is simple and yet complex. In the midst of the turmoil and uncertainty in the twenty-first-century world, praising God as sovereign and making God ‘s sovereignty known to all flesh may be a way to find peace in the midst of the turmoil. But what does that mean? We can speak the words, but how do we put them into action? God is indeed sovereign, but for that sovereignty to be truly realized we must be the hands and feet of God in God’s world–what some scholars call “a communization” of kingship. In the ancient Near East the role of the sobering was to provide a safe place of habitation for humanity. That safety included dwelling places, farm land, drinking water, abundant harvests, increase of animals, and fertility within the family (see Pss 72 and 107). In our twenty-first-century world many people do not have the basic elements of safe habitation, whether as a result of poverty, societal violence, political corruption, disease, prejudice, or outright neglect. The psalm invites us, in addition to calling on God for help, to be the eyes and ears and hands and feet of God and “uphold all who are falling,” “raise up all who are bowed down,” “open our hands and give food,” and “hear the cry” of those who are less able to care for themselves and respond. That is to say: we must, in God’s name, provide for all that the sovereignty of God over the world promises.” W p. 302
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.
Chittister Chittister, Joan. (2011). Songs of the heart: reflections on the psalms. John Garratt Publishing.
WBC Craigie, Peter C. 1983. Psalms 1-50–Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 19. Waco, TX: Word Books.
Creach 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.
Lewis, C. S. (2017). Reflections on the Psalms. Harper One, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.
Mays Mays, James Luther. 1994. Psalms. Louisville, KY: John Knox Press.
McCann McCann, J. C. (1993). A theological introduction to the book of Psalms: The Psalms as Torah. Nashville, TN: Abingdon 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
Easter: Easter Psalm 118 or 114, 2nd Sunday of Easter Psalm 133, 3rd Sunday of Easter Psalm 4, 4th Sunday of Easter Psalm 23, 5th Sunday of Easter Psalm 22, 6th Sunday of Easter Psalm 98, Ascension Psalm 47 or Psalm 93, 7th Sunday of Easter Psalm 1, Day of Pentecost Psalm 104
Season After Pentecost (Ordinary Time): 1st Sunday after Pentecost (Trinity Sunday) Psalm 29, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 138 or Psalm 130, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 20 or Psalm 92, 4th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 9 or Psalm 133 or Psalm 107, 5th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 130 or Psalm 30, 6th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 48 or Psalm 123, 7th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 24 or Psalm 85, 8th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 89 or Psalm 23, 9th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 14 or Psalm 145, 10th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 51 or Psalm 78, 11th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 130 or Psalm 34, 12th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 111 or Psalm 34, 13th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 84 or Psalm 34, 14th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 45 or Psalm 15, 15th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 125 or Psalm 146, 16th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 19 or Psalm 116, 17th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 1 or Psalm 54, 18th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 124 or Psalm 19, 19th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 26 or Psalm 8, 20th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 22 or Psalm 90, 21st Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 104 or Psalm 91, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 34 or Psalm 126, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 146 or 119, 24th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 127 or Psalm 146, 25th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 16, 26th Sunday after Pentecost (Christ the King) Psalm 132 or Psalm 93.