Ignorance lies deep in the hearts of those who know not Love; There is no reverence for Truth before their eyes. Nan C. Merrill
You can try to ignore God. Shut your eyes. Gaslight the truth. God will not ignore you. She will nourish you and sustain you. As she does for all of creation. I long to open my eyes and see the light of that love. And to honor the truth in it. And to Love as she loves.
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:
Meditate on Love’s truth
A simple prayer with one word on exhalation and one on inhalation: God fill me with your Holy Spirit. I receive your wisdom and release my ignorance.
Or you can split a longer phrase between inhalation and exhalation or put a phrase on both. Here is an example: The ignorant do not know love. The revenant know God’s wisdom.
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 year C.
I use the Vanderbilt Divinity Library’s resource for lectionary readings to make text selections.
Other Year C Psalm blog posts:
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, 9th Sunday 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, 20th Sunday 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:
“”These are some of the most wonderful words in the Old Testament. Their fulness of meaning no commentary can ever exhaust (Perowne, 1:282). Similar remarks about Psalm 36 are scattered through the history of psalm interpretation. These wondering estimates of the psalm’s profundity are based primarily on the praise of the LORD in verses 5-8 and particularly on the declaration of verse 9 on which the praise is based: “With you is the source of life; in your life we see light.” Mays p. 155
“As verses 10-11 show, the psalm is a prayer for help. The prayer has three parts: a description of the wicked (vv. 1-4), praise of the LORD (vv. 5-9), and petitions (vv. 10-12). Mays p. 155
“… in the psalm it is the character of the wicked that drives one to prayer. For the psalmist, evil is not an abstraction, or only one judgment about things, or merely a vague rooted in one way of viewing things. It is the very shape that the character of the wicked assumes. That the wicked are, and are what they are, is a threatening reality in the world in which the faithful live. To ignore that reality would mean blindness to the situation of faith.” Mays p. 156
God’s salvation and on going care of all creation is similar to psalm 104. “This is the first part of the psalm’s answer to the character of the wicked –the knowledge of the God who holds the whole world in his hand. The irony of it! The wicked who has no fear of God is himself incorporated in the great system of divine providential care.” Mays p. 156
“Wherever there is life, there is a receiving from the source. Again the irony! The wicked are related to the source. God sends his rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45). The mysteriously redundant second sentence plays with two meanings of the metaphor “light”. It can be reworded as “By your favor [the light of your face] we experience salvation [light as opposite of dark times].” But the rewording is less than the original whose redundancy contains mysteries that will be contemplated again and again by those who use the psalm.” Mays p. 157
They in verses 10 – 11. “… they ask that the LORD’s hesed rather than the power of the wicked determination their present and future.” Mays p. 158
“In the New Testament the symbols of light and of food and drink are used to speak of the life that comes in and through Jesus Christ. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). “The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Because of that witness Christians understand that the “source of life” that is “with God” is Jesus Christ and they think of the service and sacraments as presence and participation represented by the symposium of verses 7-8. It is in this way that the psalm is read when it is used as the proper psalm for Monday of Holy Week.” Mays p. 158
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.