I'm taking a break from reflecting on the Revised Common Lectionary. Instead, I'm reading the Apocrypha for a while.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

O Give Thanks to the Lord, Reflection on Psalm 107:1-3

In his Models for Interpreting Scripture, William Goldingay writes that some portions of the Bible are intended to reassure us by describing events that have happened, that other portions are intended to instruct or confront by reminding us of what God has said, and that still other portions help us to reflect and to respond by revealing the words that our ancestors have used in addressing God. 

The Book of Psalms is an example of this last category--much of the material in the Psalms are prayers addressed to God.

Psalms often are prayers based on experience, a reflection of what the psalmist has been through, and what God has done--or, in some psalms, what the psalmist wants or expects God to do next (also, of course, based on a reflection of experience--either a personal experience of the psalmist or from the shared story of a group of people).

The opening verses of Psalm 107 illustrate this type of Scripture. They call for giving thanks to the Lord for rescue. Some scholars attribute this passage to a particular point in Israel's history, the return from the exile in Babylon. The lectionary has paired it with a different point in Israel's history, the time in the wilderness. And, we can adapt them readily to our own history, of a time when we have been rescued from trouble.

Note that this particular psalm is written from the viewpoint of the nation rather than from that of an individual.

Lectio Divina: Psalm 107:1-3

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