Sundays After Pentecost, Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – Preacher & Seeker talk about unity in light of the passages this week

Preacher: “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!”

Seeker: If King David write this, I wonder if he was thinking about his early life in the court of King Saul when the king threw a spear at him. Maybe reflecting on his hope that he and King Saul would have had a better relationship. Or if his thoughts were about meeting the king’s son Jonathon.

Preacher: He might have been thinking about the days of his court when all of his enemies were vanquished and he was building up his own court and starting a family. Of course, King David’s family life was not calm and tranquil.

Seeker: He might have been thinking of his later years when Solomon was being groomed to be the next king; David might have felt he had established a legacy that would endure.

Preacher: You know, Paul might have longed for this peace too; both for himself and the believers in the churches he established. We read in II Corinthians that he had suffered greatly for his beliefs and teachings. And in other letters he advised the new believers to try to live in peace with the community around them.

Seeker: “It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.”

Preacher: We could, and should, in our own modern times live in peace. I suspect, Seeker, the unrest and violence in our current day rivals or out does the unrest and violence we hear about in the Old Testament. Neighbor against neighbor, families divided, nation against nation, cultural groups versus other cultural groups.

Seeker: Now are the conflicts are you talking about in our times or biblical times? And remember, Preacher, there was unrest in Jesus’ time too. The spread of Christianity has caused, and sadly continues to cause division and dissension.

Preacher: You are right, Seeker. All times have for one place, person, or reason been times for unrest and violence. May our current times seem more violent because the fall out and damage is so apparent. When we read about it, the reality is not as large and looming in front of us. All little precious oil would soothe so much now. I am sure the psalmist, whether it was King David or not, longed for its healing effect.

Seeker: “It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD ordained his blessing, life forevermore.” ( Psalm 133)

Preacher: It seems ironic that Jesus brought calm to the raging seas and winds when he was out with his disciples. Yet the new way of being in relationship to the Divine also brought turmoil. Not that it was supposed to be like that – no, the Divine did not seek to create a war in humanity or creation. It is just that human willfulness can sometimes not recognize what is best for itself. Pure authentic Christianity (at least I believe) intends for peace and shalom. We just need to find the best way to “fight” for it.

Seeker: Like you, Preacher, I believe that Jesus’ purpose was to calm our souls like he calmed the wind and sea. Acknowledge that the turmoil is there, and then find ways to bring rest and shalom to the spirit, through the Holy Spirit!

Preacher: Shalom & Selah, Seeker, Shalom & Selah!

Sundays After Pentecost, Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – Joining with others in scripture during Ordinary Times

The LORD answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!”

If you are expecting “Preacher & Seeker”, you will have to be disappointed. I gave them the day off. I wanted to speak to this passage directly. Some years ago I found a calendar that had monthly bible quotes from the bible. Not long verses but just phrases from scripture and colorful designs in the background. Not pictures, just color splashes. It was exactly what I needed for that year – it was a hard year.

“May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion.”

I hung it up at work and found comfort from reading the scripture portion that was complimented by the colorful background. I realized a few years down the road that I missed that calendar, so re-used it by printing out a sheet of paper that had the the proper numbering of the days of the month, and taped it on to that calendar.

“May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. Selah”

Then I took pictures of each month’s scripture portion and used it as background wallpaper on my phone. I would meditate on the scripture portion each time it came into my view – at work, at home, or on my cell phone. I think that, at the heart of all things, is what scripture is supposed to do. Seep into your life and under gird it. Imbue your life, weaving its way through it. Infuse your life so that God’s Word is all around you.

“May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your plans. “May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.”

In the years that followed, I bought other calendars that had scripture passages. I took monthly pictures of those, I used them as wallpaper on my phone. It grounded me, and reminded my that I am never alone. Imagine, beloved reader, how often you use your cell phone each day. Imagine each time you pick up and unlock your cell phone, you are reminded of a monthly scripture passage. What might that you do for you over a years time?

“Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand.”

This year, 2021, I could not find a calendar with scripture that spoke to me. Actually, I could not find any calendar that spoke to me. So, I went back to the first scripture calendar I had, and am using it again. But I have dropped the pretense that it is to help me keep track of the days. It is the scripture and colored design that I am craving.

“Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses, but our pride is in the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall, but we shall rise and stand upright.”

I am very dependent on scripture, beloved reader. Since 2014 my blogs focus on the Revised Common Lectionary. As far as I can discern, I think that means that I have “pondered” my way through three cycles of the RCL three year cycle. And yes, there was a lot of repetition, and a feeling that I had read and talked about scripture passages before. There was, and is, a comfort though in the familiarity of the verses. Like my calendars and my cell phone wall papers – a reminder that I am not alone. And that I am in good company when I consider and ponder the same scripture passages as other believers.

“Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.” (Psalm 20)

May you, beloved reader, find comfort and inspiration in scripture; and may your praises and the praise of other believers be lifted up to the Divine! Shalom & Selah!

Sundays After Pentecost, Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – Trying to lead a good & accountable life during Ordinary Time; Preacher & Seeker consider the biblical David

Preacher: “I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; . . .”

Seeker: [Silence]

Preacher: “I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; . . .”

Seeker: [Silence again]

Preacher: The next line is yours, Seeker.

Seeker: Oh! “. . . I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.” I am sorry, Preacher, I was lost in thought.

Preacher: About what, Seeker?

Seeker: I was just thinking that the psalmist, if this psalmist was David, was praising the Lord because he was the king, and kingship was something that Samuel warned the Israelites that they would come to regret. In the Old Testament passage, the Lord told Samuel the Israelites were not rejecting him but Yahweh. And King David was rejoicing in the Lord when there should not have been a king. And my thinking got tangles, and . . . I got lost in my thoughts.

Preacher: I can see and understand that there is a paradox there. But remember, David worshiped the Lord before he was king. If they had to be a king, David was probably one of the best choices. And maybe David would have been a poet for the Lord in any case.

Seeker: “On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.”
Yes, I guess David was the Divine’s man first, before he as Israel’s king. Once in a while though, kingship went to his head and he made some missteps. Big missteps.

Preacher: “All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth.”

Seeker: “They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.”

Preacher: It is true that many of the kings after David did in fact NOT hear the Words of the Lord. And did not proclaim and hold to the ways of the Lord. They wanted their own glory, and glory accorded to them.

Seeker: “For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.”
King David did humble himself when he needed to. And he did remember he was subject to the laws as set down by the Lord at Mount Sinai.

Preacher: “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.”

Seeker: Now that I am thinking more clearly, I see that David before he was king lead a good life, an accountable life. And he did try to keep that way of living throughout his kingship. David might not have been perfect, and maybe being king shone a brighter light on his imperfections. I myself shudder to think what might be revealed in my if the spotlight of notoriety shone on me!

Preacher: I feel the same way, Seeker. But I also think about how my efforts to live according to the Divine’s laws may well have saved me from worse sins! We can see from the kings that followed David that sinning comes very easy when you have comparatively unlimited control and power over the people around you. Despite his faults, David had a good attitude. “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Psalm 138)

Seeker: Preacher, you have helped me see young David and King David in a new, or renewed light. May we all try to use David’s example as a stepping to greater understanding and conviction of the Christian life, so that we might take the next step to follow in the way of living that Jesus the Messiah shows all of humanity.

Preacher: Shalom & Selah, Seeker, Shalom & Selah!

Sundays After Pentecost: Mary’s Visitation to Elizabeth, Yr B, 2021: Old Testament, Psalm, Gospel & Epistle Passages – Women being called to service during Ordinary Time

I read recently an article in a magazine put out by the denomination that I am a part of that talks about “biblical womanhood.” The concept of “biblical womanhood” states that women are not to have a large part in church or faith organizations. Their “role” is to a silent participant and confine themselves to more “domestic” roles than leadership. The interesting thing is that there is not much “biblical” proof for it. And even Paul himself celebrated and appreciated the women who made up the leadership in many of the house churches that his journeys resulted in. And it seems quite fitting that Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth brings forth verses that celebrate women’s involvement in the Divine’s plan and mission in the world.

From 1 Samuel 2:1, “Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the LORD; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory.” Her young Samuel became the prophet Samuel because she released her son to be raised in the temple. And Samuel championed young David whose line the Messiah came out of. The psalmist also records the Divine’s attention to women, blessing them with hope and a future. The ninth verse of Psalms 113 says, “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!” This is true of Hannah and Elizabeth.

When Mary found herself with child, she did not run off to the synagogue – for what help could she expect there?

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:39 – 45)

In the great rush to claim leadership in religious groups of Christian persuasion, it is forgotten that a woman first nurtured that which would become the greatest source of faith. The theological logic goes that women are fit “only” for giving birth and keeping a household running – no small task, beloved reader! But women are just as fit and capable for greater things as men. The Jewish faith, actually, has its ground roots in the home rather than in a temple or synagogue. And it is that background that Jesus grew up. Perhaps it was Mary who taught him the spirit of the law that Jesus said he came to fulfill.

“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” “(Verses 46 – 55)

I have over the years speculated as to whether Mary spoke these word, or some writer of the gospel of Luke placed them in her mouth. Mary’s actions in accepting this role in life, giving birth far from home, and raising Jesus say much more about her than just these words.

“And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.” (Verses 56 – 57)

Elizabeth also had a vital role, raising the herald of Jesus’ ministry. Does it occur to you, beloved reader, how it must have weighed and tested these women’s heart to raise a very beloved child, and then release that child to the Divine’s purpose? What faith, devotion, and love for/of the Divine?

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;” (Romans 12:9-16b)

Sundays After Pentecost: Trinity Sunday, Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – Being called to praise during Ordinary Time

Preacher: “Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.”

Seeker: Which Lord, Preacher? This being the week that ends in Trinity Sunday, which Lord should be ascribed to and praised for glory & strength?

Preacher: “Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.”

Seeker: Which Lord, Preacher? Which Lord should be worshiped in Holy Splendor and the Glory of that Name raised up?

Preacher: Which Lord is most worthy of it, Seeker? I know that you were waiting for me to rise to that bait, but I am not going to.

Seeker: “The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters.”

Preacher: “The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.”

Seeker: Well, I think it would be a split decision between the Lord Creator and the Lord Redeemer, with the Holy Spirit coming in a close second. The Holy Presence sometimes resembles the Creator in urging and nurturing, creating opportunities. And the Holy Presence sometimes resembles the Redeemer, also nurturing but guiding, directing, and teaching – which the Creator does also. No wonder They are considered by many as differing aspects.

Preacher: “The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.”

Seeker: “He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.”

Preacher: You are correct, Seeker. Either the Creator or Redeemer could be this voice. And considering this was written before Jesus was sent, maybe it was/is both of them. Thing is though, the Spirit of the Lord then was understood a little differently than now. Not that it makes any difference to the Traits and Aspects of the Divine.

Seeker: “The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.”
It is, actually, a presentation of a very Old Testament Yahweh and Divine. I was asking the question of which Lord in a very lighthearted way. However I see that passage talks about a very Heavy-Hand Divine.

Preacher: “The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.”
It is a loud and booming Lord God we are presented here. The worship and reverence asked for may be more done out of fear and reverence than familiarity and affection.

Seeker: Then maybe my question still stands. Which Lord? Maybe the Trinity presents both firm & unyielding Divine, and a compassionate & gentle Divine. Both should be praised, and are praised. But which Divine is easier to praise? Not forgetting of course the quintessential Divine of guidance & inspiration, the Holy Presence.

Preacher: Glossing over the fact that you are subtly changing the question, it depends on which Divine best aligns with one’s faith beliefs. Jesus Christ had (still has actually) the power to do such things, but His method while on earth was a softer and gentler approach. For many, that is what they need; and so that is Who they should praise.

Seeker: “The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, “Glory!” The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.”
And there are those who need a strong and authoritarian God, booming over creation. Is so, that is who they should praise.

I like it that within the Trinity each person can found a Divine who meets their spirit and soul’s needs. Within the Trinity there is such diversity of aspects and traits that all could find a home and a place of faith and belief. And as the psalmist confirms, all the Aspects have the same trait that endures from the early days of creation until now. “May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!” (Psalm 29)

Seeker: Shalom & Selah, Preacher. Shalom & Selah!

Day of Pentecost Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – The Coming of the Advocate & Spiritual Teacher blesses creation

O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”

“Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.”

“There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.”

These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.”

“May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works– who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.”


“I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.”

“May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 104:24-34, 35b)

Day of Pentecost Yr B, 2021: Substituted Acts Passage – When the Holy Spirit came down to EVERYONE!

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” ( Acts 2:1 – 4)

When significant events in history are talked about and recalled, it is not unusual to ask one another or reflect with one’s self – where were you when this happened? The disciples had come together, either to worship or for common support. As commanded by Jesus, they had not scattered to their homes or to other places of shelter. Besides the core twelve there were many other like minded believers. I do have to wonder though, did the tongues of fire and the Holy Spirit come only to those core twelve? We read other places, most notably in my mind now, the conversion of the centurion Cornelius & his household, that the Holy Spirit was not reserved for the core twelve. Like many tenets of faith, each person has to discern for themselves what to believe. I believe that in attendance that day were all those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah and were devote in following the instructions that he had left. But, it was not just the followers of Jesus who had reason to remember where they were.

“Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Verses 5 – 12)

Imagine if you would, beloved reader, that these names of places were replaced by names of places in our modern world; not just North America, but names/places from all over the globe. And names of people/backgrounds very different and diverse from one another. Yes, beloved reader, I mean the marginalized and maligned. Those who are hated by others; those follow paths that do not conform to what is considered mainstream society. Imagine, just imagine beloved reader! That the Holy Spirit included all of those who anyone would think outside the grace of the Divine!! A act of unity and harmony that the world has never seen, but so badly needs!!

“But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Verse 13)

Do you remember the psalm from Saturday? About the scoffers? Yes, in verse 13 that is what they were like.

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.” (Verses 14 – 20)

Pentecost is the dividing line between the Sundays of Easter and the Days of Ordinary Times. But for the disciples/apostles, they were far from ordinary. We call it ordinary times because the festival days of the church and far and in-between, unlike the festival and celebration (and Lenten) days that we have come through. If they were “just ordinary days” we would not grow and mature in our faith. The seed was planted at the beginning of the church year with Christmas. It sprouted and grew through the days after Christmas, and was challenged during Lent. At Easter it bloomed forth, and the days after Easter it grew even more study, ready to take on the work. The days of work that comprise the Divine’s mission in the world are far from ordinary. But, so they are named. But you know, beloved reader, and I know – these days have the potential to be extraordinary. Why?

“Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ “ (Verse 21)

Shalom & Selah!

Seventh Sunday of Easter Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – Listening to the Psalmist teach his readers: Preacher & Seeker narrate the discourse

Preacher: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, “

Seeker: “or take the path that sinners tread,”

Preacher: “or sit in the seat of scoffers;”

Preacher & Seeker: “but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night.”

Seeker” I think, Preacher, the psalmist is preaching again. Having read some of the psalmist’s teachings closely, and aided by biblical commentators, I know understand that the psalmist’s writings are not just musing he thinks to himself. But instructions for living an accountable and authentic spiritual life. At times his approach is stern and rests on show of military might. But overall he has some good advice.

Preacher: “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.”
I think you have discerned the psalmist’s intentions very well. We do well to remember that the psalmist did not have exposure to the more gentle side of the Lord God. Generations that followed spoke of, or spoke for, an angry God.

Seeker: “The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” ( Psalm 1)

Preacher: It is interesting to consider that maybe some modern Christians would be more comfortable with an “Angry God” since they let their anger rule their actions and attitudes. Politics and religion were closely aligned in the Old Testament. And in the New Testament there was a chaffing at the Jews’ overlord. But Jesus rightly discerned that many of tho followers of the Jewish leaders and scribes chaffed also. Jesus offered a different way; a more difficult way for some to accept and believe in.

Seeker: I agree with what you are saying; but my thinking circles back to the opening verses. Who are the wicked? And how is their advice contrary to the Divine’s? What constitutes wickedness, and how far down the path is the point of no return? As for the seat of scoffers, it is a seat that tempts many; even those who think they can resist resting there. Furthermore, the law of the Lord shifted from the Old to the New Testament. Well, more specifically the spirit of the law shifted; or mayhap shifted to where the Divine always meant it to be.

Preacher: I can see/hear, Seeker, that are thinking carefully about things. It is a good trait, and will stand you in good stead as you live out your Christian life. I especially like your comment about the seat of the scoffers. Scoffers, as the psalmist is using it, are those who mock and deride faith and the desire to be faithful. One minute a person can spouting all sorts of theologies and beliefs, and the next they are using harsh and abrasive language about faith issues. The psalmist is both forward thinking in what may come about in future generations, and insightful about how those around him malign faith. If are modern generation could accept more than they scoff, the world might be a gentler place.

Seeker: Shalom & Selah, Preacher, Shalom & Selah!

Sixth Sunday of Easter Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – Songs of love from the Divine; Preacher & Seeker talk about the lyrics and tunes

Preacher: “O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.”

Seeker: “The LORD has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.”

Preacher: “He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.”

It is funny to think that the psalmist’s praise choruses are the equivalent of our modern day praise, gospel & Christian songs and refrains. I often listen to Christian music on the radio and have a good many CDs of the Christian music stemming back some 20 years.

Preacher: Even more amusing is that some of those current songs are lifted from scripture, and put to new chords, rhythm, and beats. I remember from my youth praise choruses that came to be as comforting and familiar as any scripture. The stories I could tell you, Seeker, of how those choruses carried me some hard times.

Seeker: From me also, Preacher. So many songs then and now carry me through and remind me of the Divine’s goodness, love, and support.

Preacher: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.”

Seeker: “Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.”

Preacher & Seeker: “With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.”

Preacher: I have to believe, Seeker, that the Divine sparked the first member of humanity to create music – however that came about. The spoken word (or the written word for that matter) can state with great eloquence and passion praise and belief in the Divine. But music, music access a whole different level and realm of praise.

Seeker: The spoken word and the hummed/sung note both affect the brain; you can see on an MRI the effect of music on the brain. And I think that is slightly different then the effect of speech on the brain. Studies in the elderly with Alzheimer’s show that music memory is retained differently then other memories. Music goes and influences the mind different than speech. I think you are right, Preacher; the Divine created the psyche to use music and process music moving and memorable ways. And not just humanity, but creation as well.

Preacher: “Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy at the presence of the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 98)

Seeker: Praise to the Lord God that the psalmist left a wealth of material, and that each succeeding generation has built on that!

Preacher: Shalom & Selah, Seeker, Shalom & Selah!

Fifth Sunday of Easter Yr B, 2021: Psalm Passage – The spread of discipleship and how it works; Preacher & Seeker lay it out for us

Preacher: “From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.”

Seeker: Not wanting to sound critical, but it seems that the psalmist focus his praise and testimony to those of his faith circle. I think I know why. First, his culture and circle of acquaintances were follow believers. Or at least that is the way it could be. Which raises a second possible reason; those in his hearing may not have been as faithful and attentive in worship. It is a trend we see in the later books in the Old Testament, and a theme among the prophets.

Preacher: I do love it when you figure things out for yourself. While neither of us claim to be biblical commentators, I think we do well in parsing out the reasons, meanings, and motivations for the biblical writers.

Seeker: “The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD. May your hearts live forever!”

Preacher: “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.”

Seeker: Something else; sometimes the psalmist talks about the surrounding area that is close by, and sometimes he talks about distances that he may not have had a clear concept. But he was so sure that some day those places would know and worship the same Divine he did. Now, is that optimism or lack of geographic awareness?

Preacher: I prefer that he was optimistic. Even if he realized the vastness of that world, he would probably believe the entire circumference of the global would become adherence to his faith. And in a way it is true; there are believers in the Christian strain of faith all over the world. But there is more variation, and follow & flexing than he imagined – for good or for bad.

Seeker: “For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.”

Preacher: “To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him. Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it. ” (
Psalm 22:25-31)

Seeker: That means people in all circumstances, correct? The poor and forlorn, and the wealthy and well placed in society. For me, and maybe for you Preacher, it almost seems that at this point the psalmist was not aware of the coming of the Messiah. Which of course calls in question the foreshadowing that attributed to writings in the Old Testament.

Preacher: The Messiah who came was not necessarily the Messiah that the cumulative knowledge of the Old Testament speaks to and foresees. That the Messiah would come was a surety. That there would be signs and portents was a foregone conclusion. That all who encountered the Messiah would believe was for them a hard fact. The psalmist is both correct and incorrect; praise and testimony is offered to/before the faithful and unfaithful alike. The hope is that the unfaithful turn to faith in the Divine.

Seeker: Shalom & Selah!