For Love reigns over the world with truth and justice bringing order and balance to all of creation. Nan C. Merrill Psalm 98
All of creation flourishes when Love reigns. God created the world by bringing order to chaos, and God continues to co-create in, with, and through us. God’s justice, truth, and love can transform our world. When Love reigns, “the ecumenical, ecological, economic, social, and political implications of this message are profound.” NIB p. 579 When Love reigns, we won’t use religious differences to spew hate, to ‘convert’ (meaning oppress and assimilate), or to claim divine blessing as a reason to be in power. When Love reigns, we will care for all of creation, earth, air, water and everything that has breath. When Love reigns, our economy will not be driven by slave labor, by the overworking of ‘essential’ workers, nor by the production of anything that takes life; swords will be beaten into plowshares. Everyone will have enough. When God reigns, we will live in peace and love.
Joy to the World by Isaac Watts is based on Psalm 98. Here is the hymn as it appears in the Presbyterian Hymnal #40:
Joy to the world! The Lord is come: Let earth receive her king; Let every heart prepare Him room, And heaven and nature sing Joy to the world! The Savior reigns: Let us our songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains Repeat the sounding joy No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow Far as the curse is found He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love
The Lord’s Prayer:
If you are new to breath prayer, I’ve recorded some examples:
Here are some simple breath prayers to accompany this psalm:
A simple prayer with one word on exhalation and one on inhalation: God fill me with your Holy spirit. I receive your justice and release my joy.
Or you can split a longer phrase between inhalation and exhalation or put a phrase on both. Here is an example: wondrous love
Do what is most comfortable to you. Breath prayer is a practice not something we do perfectly. Some days will be easier than others.
Ok, everyone, take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
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. It is a practice I have continued since. Many churches use the Revised Common Lectionary (RLC) 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. While we were using Psalms in year D, most other lectionary followers were using Year A. In Advent of 2020 we rejoined those who use the lectionary in year B. Advent of 2021 follows year C of lectionary pattern with Psalms in year C.
I use the Vanderbilt Divinity Library’s resource for lectionary readings to make text selections.
Other Year C Psalm blog posts:
Advent – Transfiguration: 1st Sunday in Advent Psalm 25, 2nd Sunday in Advent instead of a Psalm the lectionary gives Luke 1:68-79, 3rd Sunday in Advent instead of a Psalm the lectionary gives Isaiah 12:2-6, 4th Sunday in Advent Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80, 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 35, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 19, 4th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 71, 5th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 138, 6th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 1, 7th Sunday after Epiphany Psalm 37, Transfiguration Sunday (Sunday before Lent) Psalm 99
Lent: Ash Wednesday Psalm 51, 1st Sunday in Lent Psalm 91, 2nd Sunday in Lent Psalm 27, 3rdSunday in Lent Psalm 63, 4th Sunday in Lent Psalm 32, 5th Sunday in Lent Psalm 126, 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 Psalm 114, 2nd Sunday of Easter Psalm 118 or Psalm 150, 3rdSunday of Easter Psalm 30, 4th Sunday of Easter Psalm 23, 5th Sunday of Easter Psalm 148, 6thSunday of Easter Psalm 67, Ascension Psalm 47 or Psalm 93, 7th Sunday of Easter Psalm 97, Day of Pentecost Psalm 104
Season After Pentecost (Ordinary Time): 1st Sunday after Pentecost (Trinity Sunday) Psalm 8, 2nd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 42 and Psalm 43 or Psalm 22, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 77 or Psalm 16, 4th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 30 or Psalm 66, 5th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 82 or Psalm 25, 6th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 52 or Psalm 15, 7th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 85 or Psalm 138, 8th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 107 or Psalm 49, 9thSunday after Pentecost Psalm 50 or Psalm 33, 10th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 80 or Psalm 82, 11th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 71 or Psalm 103, 12th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 81 or Psalm 112, 13th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 139 or Psalm 1, 14th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 14 or Psalm 51, 15th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 91 or Psalm 113, 16th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 91 or Psalm 146, 17th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 137 or Psalm 37, 18th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 66 or Psalm 111, 19th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 119 or Psalm 121, 20thSunday after Pentecost Psalm 65 or Psalm 84, 21st Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 119 or Psalm 32, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 145 or Psalm 98 or Psalm 17, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 98, 24th Sunday after Pentecost Psalm 46.
Sources and notes:
“The psalm lifts up the prospect of a coming kingdom where power and policy make for salvation.” Mays p. 312
“The psalm believes and claims that Israel’s God had been shaping Israel’s particular history to establish and reveal his rule over universal history. The belief is astonishing and the claim appears to be theological bravado. But the basic conviction was as old in Israel as hymns like Exodus 15 and Psalm 68 that celebrated the exodus and possession of the land as the manifestation of the LORD’s everlasting reign. Long before the rescue of he exiles from Babylon, some in Israel had been given the insight that the LORD’s victories in Israel’s history were the work of the God whose victory over primeval chaos had brought forth the world. Salvation corresponded to and continued creation. Both were the royal work of the one who rules over all.” Mays p. 313
“Psalm 98 proclaims exuberantly the message hat pervades and forms the theological heart of the psalter: God reigns. like other enthronement psalms, Psalm 98 presents justice and righteousness as the essence of the worldwide policy that God wills and enacts (vv. 2, 9). Psalm 98 also makes it clear that this policy is motivated by God’s faithfulness and love (v. 3). In short, the good news is that God rules the universe with faithfulness and love, and the ecumenical, ecological, economic, social, and political implications of this message are profound.” NIB p. 579
Joy to the World by Issac Watts is based on Psalm 98
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.
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DAFLER, J. (2021). PSOBRIETY: A journey of recovery through the psalms. Louisville, KY: WESTMINSTER JOHN KNOX.
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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.