Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 33 in which the psalmist is clearly awestruck by both the power and the mercy of God. It is a prayer of radical awareness that God is Creator and we are creature.
The psalm has two divisions. In part one, the community is called to praise God because God deserves it.
Rejoice, you righteous, in the LORD;Psalm 33: 1-4
praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the LORD on the harp;
on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.
Sing to God a new song;
skillfully play with joyful chant.
For the LORD’s word is upright;
and works are trustworthy.
In part two, that praise is articulated by recounting God’s caring intervention in the community’s experience.
From heaven the LORD looks downPsalm 33: 13-15
and observes the children of Adam,
From that dwelling place surveying
all who dwell on earth.
The One who fashioned together their hearts
and who knows all their works.
Psalm 33 can be summarized in this way:
Because Yahweh rules with righteousness, justice, and unfailing love,Lynn Jost, Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies – Tabor College, Kansas
we must worship Yahweh with songs and praise
and by rejecting all false sources of salvation.
Praying Psalm 33 reminds me that one can never demand mercy. We cannot require the other to hold us in continual compassion. We can only hope and be grateful.
Mercy is the gift of a heart moved beyond itself by love and tenderness. Such outpouring is the very nature of God in whose image we are created.
Thus for God, and for us, to be unmerciful is to be unnatural. In Psalm 33, we pray not only to receive mercy, but to become mercy.
Psalm 33 closes with a plea for our hearts to be deepened in their affinity to God, to mirror God by our patience, joy, hope, and mercy.
Our soul waits for the LORD,Psalm 33: 20-22
Who is our help and shield.
For in God our hearts rejoice;
in God’s holy name we trust.
May your mercy, LORD, be upon us;
as we put our hope in you.
Poetry: To Live in the Mercy of God BY DENISE LEVERTOV
To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
before ribs of shelter
To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.
Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.
To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.
To float, upheld,
as salt water
would hold you,
once you dared.
To live in the mercy of God.
To feel vibrate the enraptured
waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,
O or Ah
spray. The smoke of it.
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?
Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
flung on resistance.
Music: As you listen to David Arkenstone’s instrumental, you may want to remember Shakespeare’s famous description of mercy. See below the music.