It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Power and Weakness, a reflection on Psalm 147:1-11, 20

Psalm 147 sings of the work that the Lord has done (2-3) and the work that will continue to be done (6).

Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious,
and a song of praise is fitting (1).

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power:
his understanding is beyond measure (5).
And for whom this work is done: the outcasts (2), the brokenhearted (3), the downtrodden (6). The Lord acts to change those circumstances: the Lord gathers the outcasts, heals the brokenhearted, lifts up the downtrodden.

In return, we contemplate just what it is that the Lord wants for us to do, how to be. Well, it not just to be better than the people around us--richer or stronger or whatever:
The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love (11).

James Newsome, in Texts for Preaching B, writes:
Power and weakness! It may be observed that the story of humankind is, in large measure, the pursuit of the former and the avoidance of the latter. The person who has no power is one who exercises no control over his or her life. .... Into this terrible arena the psalmist issues a different understanding of the nature of power and weakness and of the relation between the two. There is but a single Power; all other power is illusory and transient. To participate in this Power is to admit one's own weakness, one's own dependence on the Creator and Sustainer of life. And paradoxically, it is only in the admission of one's own finitude and impotence that there emerges hope and joy. For the Power that sets the stars and brings the rains is irrevocably committed to the cause of justice and compassion....
Lectio Divina: Psalm 147:10

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