When Jesus went on his way, where did he go? (Luke 4:31–37)

Jesus will never be our homey who assures us that we are OK until we first hear him as the stranger who tells us that we are not OK, until we accept his exotic words as authoritative, as so authoritative and powerful that they cast out the demons that indwell us (verses 33–37), until we have been unmade and remade by his word.

All and every, for ever and ever (Psalm 145)

Have you ever noticed how many times Psalm 145 uses the words ALL and EVERY? (They translate the same Hebrew word, KOL.) I am lowercasing LORD below to let all the KOLs stand out. We could also note three occurrences of L’OLAM VA-ED, FOR EVER AND EVER; these I have italicized. I will extol thee,Continue reading “All and every, for ever and ever (Psalm 145)”

By the waters of New Zion (Psalm 137, nationalized)

By the waters of New Zion, here we dance and sing! We have long since retuned our lyres to the tonal system of this blessed land. Our leaders smile on us and swear that we are chosen of the Lord and precious in his sight so we say they are too. Our tongues flap freelyContinue reading “By the waters of New Zion (Psalm 137, nationalized)”

The dark turn of Psalm 106

Psalms 95 through 101 utter the praise of the Lord in an unobstructed way. The Psalmist focuses on the Lord’s mighty acts of deliverance on behalf of his people, and joy wells up and overflows as the natural response to the goodness of God. Psalm 102 drops down into a place of suffering and distress,Continue reading “The dark turn of Psalm 106”

Psalm 104: Introduction

What do we mean when we call the Scriptures divine revelation? Many things. One thing we mean: Scripture is text that expresses and inculcates a way of seeing everything (i.e., our lived world, everything that we are to some extent capable of seeing). It is transcendent-truthful vision: “Transcendent” meaning that it shows more deeply thanContinue reading “Psalm 104: Introduction”

Psalm 95 and discipleship failure: An invitation and a warning

O come, let us sing unto the LORD:let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.For the LORD is a great God,and a great King above all gods.In his hand are the deep places of the earth:theContinue reading “Psalm 95 and discipleship failure: An invitation and a warning”

Prayers for an election season (part 2 of 7)

Previously I suggested that the Penitential Psalms might be a good set of prayers for this election season. Why? Not sure I know. Maybe it’s something to discover. I’m quoting these psalms from the NRSV. The titles given by the NRSV translators are their own, not part of the text they received. But they areContinue reading “Prayers for an election season (part 2 of 7)”

Naming racists and racism

Two things that are not helpful: If you sense racist elements in my speech or actions and react by calling me a racist, that doesn’t help. If you sense some racist elements in my speech or behavior, and try to clue me in to what I’m missing, and I respond with, “You’re calling me aContinue reading “Naming racists and racism”

The wicked, God, and me (Psalm 5, day 1)

Psalm 5 sounds perennial themes. These themes recur throughout the Psalter, throughout the Bible, and throughout the life of the person who would follow God and live righteously: wicked people, God, and oneself. What happens if we try to take this psalm as a paradigm, a model, of how to relate these three constants? TheContinue reading “The wicked, God, and me (Psalm 5, day 1)”