Lectionary Reflection for Trinity Sunday

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 29:

Psalm 29 is a meditation on the splendor of God’s voice as it speaks through creation and elicits the response of God’s people gathered for worship.

The final verses offer an assurance that God sits enthroned as King forever and will strengthen and bless the congregation of the faithful, emphasizing that the one who strengthens and blesses is none other than the one whose power is seen in creation.

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Prayer for reflection:

Lord God Almighty,
by the power of your Spirit we can sing “Glory!” with the angels
and praise you with all of creation.
Holy God, receive the worship of those for whom you sent your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 1:

Psalm 1 describes and contrasts two pathways: righteousness and wickedeness.

Such imagery recurs throughout the psalms and other parts of the Bible (e.g., Jer. 17:5-8).

Like Pss. 19 and 119, it celebrates the significance of God’s law as a source of wisdom and blessing.

Early church theologian Jerome called this “the main entrance to the mansion of the Psalter.”

Much of what follows in the Psalter either expresses or appeals to its message.

 

Prayer for reflection:

Lord our God, giver of blessing and judgment, your Son Jesus lived the only true life.
Because of him, we can know you, love you, and delight in you.
Keep us watered by your grace and rooted in your Spirit
so that our ears will hear your voice and our feet will follow your path,
giving glory to you alone. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 98:

Psalm 98 calls all of creation to praise God.

It emphasizes that God is the God not only of Israel (v. 3) but also of the whole world (v. 9), and that God’s enthronement is for the purpose of sovereign governance, a rule that will reveal, in the words of Isaac Watts, “the wonders of his love.”

 

Prayer for reflection:
Victorious God, all creation lifts its voice in a cacophony of joyful praise.
In your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
you have come to judge the world in truth and equity.
We await his return to make all things new,
joining creation’s chorus with our new songs of praise. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 22:

Psalm 22 is a poignant individual lament and cry for help (vv.1-21), which, after a dramatic pivot, concludes with hymn of praise (vv.22-31).

This hymn is a beautiful psalm in itself, paying special attention to God’s provision for the weak and needy (vv. 24, 26) and speaking of the praise of God that future generations will offer (v. 31).

Psalms 22 and 23, when taken together, form a beautiful triptych that moves from restless lament through restorative praise to calm trust.

Christians frequently approach Ps. 22 Christologically, especially because two of its verses are quoted in the gospel narrative of Jesus’ suffering and death (vv. 1,18).

 

Prayer for reflection:
Merciful God, some of your children are joyfully singing your praise.
Others are languishing in despair.
Through Jesus you are acquainted with our grief
and in him we have resurrection hope.
Bind up those who are broken, bless those who are dying, shield those who are joyous,
and lead us all to your house, where we may feast together at your table. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 23:

Psalm 23, like Ps. 16, is a psalm of trust. It is filled with memorable imagery: grassy pastures, restful waters, dark valleys, the protecting and correcting rod and staff, sumptuous feasts, and fragrant oil.

It makes a journey from “rest” to “shadow” to “feast,” narrating God’s presence in moments of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation.

 

Prayer for reflection:
Jesus, loving shepherd, we hear your voice,
and we know the price you paid because of your love for us.
Help us to move beyond hearing and knowing
to accepting the life you offer us and committing ourselves to serving others,
giving you all honor, glory, and praise. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 133:

Psalm 133, the fourteenth of the Psalms of Ascents, is a celebration of the unity of God’s people, a unity that is not to be taken for granted as the history of Israel attests.

The psalm uses dramatic imagery to convey the beauty of unity, comparing it to fragrant oil and mountain dew.

 

A prayer for reflection:

O God, let the overflowing of your Holy Spirit
cover your church with the blessing of unity
and the anointing of your peace,
through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for Easter Vigil

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 136:

Psalm 136 is a litany of gratitude for God’s action in creation both in redeeming the people of Israel.

The specific references in the psalm extend to each of the first five books of the Bible, making this psalm a response to the entirety of Torah.

The second half of each verse is an acclamation of praise appropriate for use by the assembly.

This narrative or history-telling prayer follows a similar form to Christian prayers at the Lord’s Supper.

 

A prayer for reflection:

Everlasting God,
your love is a banner unfurled over all times and places.
Help us to live into the story of your redemption,
joining the cast of those called to love and serve in your name.
All glory be to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Liturgy of the Palms

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 118:

Psalm 118 is a psalm of thanksgiving that features two primary emphases: a grand testimony regarding the deliverance of God (vv. 5-7, 10-18, 22-23) and a strong vow to praise and confess God in worship (vv. 19-21, 24, 26-29).

An unusually complex psalm, these emphases are complemented by exhortations to worship God (vv. 1-4) and to trust God (vv. 8-9) and a short prayer for God’s continued deliverance (v. 25).

It describes the work of God in terms of deliverance (v. 14), discipline (v. 18), and enlightenment (v. 27).

The psalm offers a vivid imagery of salvation as the move from claustrophobic constraint (v. 5), made maddening by an enemy that felt like “buzzing bees” (vv. 5, 12) to a place of spaciousness (v. 5) marked by the joyful praise of God’s people (v. 15).

This psalm is quoted several times in the NT.

 

A prayer for reflection:

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the foundation of our life and faith.
Even when the world rejects you, we sing your praise.
Help us to love and serve others even when they reject us and you.
In your name there is healing, in your death there is life,
in your resurrection there is hope, and at your return every knee will bow.
Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 51:

Psalm 51, one of the seven penitential psalms, is a poignant cry for divine forgiveness, appealing to God’s goodness, mercy, and compassion (v. 1).

It acknowledges sin in terms of three contrasting images: rebelliousness (vv. 1,3), waywardness (v. 2), and failure (v. 3). It acknowledges the relational barrier that sin creates (v. 4), the importance of inner renewal that only God can bring (v. 10), and the way that forgiveness leads to testimony and praise (vv. 13-15).

The conclusion of the psalm reprises the main theme of Ps. 50 (vv. 16-19), suggesting that Pss. 50 and 51 can helpfully be studied and prayed together.

Prayer for reflection:
Merciful God, we cannot stand before you
unless our hearts are cleansed and our spirits are made right by your redeeming.
Thank you for your merciful forgiveness,
and even more for your transforming love
made known to us in Jesus the Savior. Amen. 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Lectionary Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

This excerpt comes from Psalms for All Seasons, commenting on Psalm 107:

Psalm 107, the first psalm in the fifth and final of the Psalter’s five books, is a psalm of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness, deliverance, and covenant love in response to human repentance, turning away from sin and toward God.

This is celebrated through a repeated pattern of describing various groups of people who have experienced calamity, turned toward God, and experienced deliverance (vv. 4-9, 10-16, 17-22, 23-32).

The psalm concludes with a general hymn of praise to God (vv 33-41) and a proverb-like refrain that calls on the wise to “take this to heart.”

 

Prayer for reflection:
Good and loving God, in Jesus you know the paths your children walk
and all that can frighten and discourage us.
Make your presence real to use as we make our journey,
that at any time and in every circumstance
we may remember your blessings—and rejoice! Amen.

 

©2012 Faith Alive Christian Resources. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.