Yesterday I noted how the lectionary text of Elijah’s encounter with the Lord omits the context, and how recalling the context can be helpful to us as we seek to relate to what the Lord has to say, and how the Lord is.
There is something of the same to moan about with the editing of the psalm for its Lectionary purpose!
The retained verses hymn the Lord’s love. The omitted verses remind of what the Lord has had to put up with from Israel, which renders his mercy all the more remarkable, and its certain availability for us too, whatever the circumstances in which we come before him.
(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)
Psalm 85 (84)
1 For the Choirmaster. Of the sons of Korah. A Psalm.
2 O Lord, you have favoured your land,
and brought back the captives of Jacob.
3 You forgave the guilt of your people,
and covered all their sins.
4 You averted all your rage;
you turned back the heat of your anger.
5 Bring us back, O God, our saviour!
Put an end to your grievance against us.
6 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will your anger last from age to age?
7 Will you not restore again our life,
that your people may rejoice in you?
8 Let us see, O Lord, your mercy,
and grant us your salvation.
9 I will hear what the Lord God speaks;
he speaks of peace for his people and his faithful,
and those who turn their hearts to him.
10 His salvation is near for those who fear him,
and his glory will dwell in our land.
11 Merciful love and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have kissed.
12 Faithfulness shall spring from the earth,
and justice look down from heaven.
13 Also the Lord will bestow his bounty,
and our earth shall yield its increase.
14 Justice will march before him,
and guide his steps on the way.
~ Translation of Psalm: From The Revised Grail Psalms: A Liturgical Psalter. (c) 2010.~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Detail of Peace window, Hull Minster (c) 2019, Allen Morris.