Summer Psalm Series #2: Psalm 69 (and Matthew 7:7-11). Narrative Lectionary (6/23/19)

GENERAL/INTRO

Second Sunday of 4 week summer Psalm series: Psalm 69:1-16 and: Matthew 7:7-11; overview of series & notes for each week at https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=4073

Psalms as Expressions of Worship by John Hicks: Charts of psalms using the Orientation/Disortientation/Re-Orientation schema of Brueggemann that is being used by NL for its summer psalm series: http://johnmarkhicks.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2008/04/psalm-classification-and-worship-mood.doc

When the Floods Rise: This commentary explores the meaning of Psalms of  disorientation and the messiness we experience in faith.

https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2505

A great paraphrase (from the Message) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm69&version=MSG

THEMES

My husband, who is preaching this pericope, is leaning into Matthew 7:7-11 as an answer to what happens when we seek God. For Matthew resources  (not included in this blog), see https://preachingandworship.org/search/matthew%207%3A7-11. For resources on that saying as found in Luke, see http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/lk11.htm

Another potential theme is the place and need for (and acceptability of!) lament in the Christian life and also in worship

If you go into the latter half of the psalm, it takes up Christological themes of the suffering of the righteous and Jesus’ suffering. One reference to that is found below under exegetical resources. For this theme, see preaching notes by Stan Mast on Ps. 69:7-18 as a prediction of Christ’s suffering but also a pastoral word for those who suffer as he did for righteousness sake. https://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermon-starters/proper-7a/?type=the_lectionary_psalms and similar themes from Paul K.-K. Cho https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=3302

 

HYMNS for Ps. 69

Taize: O Lord, Hear My Prayer

City Hymn’s version of “Out of the Depths” adapted from “Out of the Deep I Call” by Henry W. Baker, 1868 and Psalm 130. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gt9MkLeNO4

Out of the Depths CCL license/for purchase https://sovereigngracemusic.org/music/songs/out-of-the-depths/

“Create in Me a Clean Heart O God”

“Kyrie Eleison” (Lord Have Mercy)

“Lord Teach Us How to Pray Aright”

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”

From Presbyterian Hymnal (1990)

Those in bold particularly appropriate

Those listing with .x, such as 73.3, mean that verse 3 is particularly appropriate in hymn #73.

 

Psalm 69.7-18

168 Lord, Why Have You Forsaken Me

182 Psalm 31.9-16

183 In You, Lord, I Have Put My Trust

189 As Deer Long for the Streams

190 Psalm 42

250 When Morning Lights the Eastern Skies

277 O God, Our Faithful God

 

Psalm 69.7-12

73.3 Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory

76 My Song Is Love Unknown

78 Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed

80 Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley

82 O Lamb of God Most Holy!

83 O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High

85 What Wondrous Love Is This

86 When We Are Tempted to Deny Your Son

93 Ah, Holy Jesus

97.2 Go to Dark Gethsemane

99 Throned Upon the Awful Tree

103 Deep Were His Wounds, and Red

149.4+5 The Head That Once Was Crowned

260.3+4 A Mighty Fortress is Our God

364 I Sing a Song of the Saints of God

393 Take Up Your Cross, the Savior Said

419 How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord

425.2 Lord of Light, Your Name Outshining

 

Psalm 69.13-18

9.1 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

178.3 Lord, to You My Soul Is Lifted

249.1 O Lord, Make Haste to Hear My Cry

277.3 O God, Our Faithful God

303 Jesus, Lover of My Soul

342 By Gracious Powers

363 I Want Jesus to Walk with Me

373 Lonely the Boat

442.3+4 The Church’s One Foundation

 

Psalm 69.13b,16

186 Thy Mercy and Thy Truth, O Lord

205.4 All Hail to God’s Anointed

209 My Song Forever Shall Record

222 Psalm 103

223 O My Soul, Bless Your Redeemer

243 We Thank You, Lord, for You Are Good

251 Your Faithfulness, O Lord, Is Sure

253.2 I’ll Praise My Maker

254 Psalm 146

261 God of Compassion, in Mercy Befriend Us

276 Great Is Thy Faithfulness

298 There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy

600.5 Song of Mary (Magnificat)

 

Psalm 69.14-15

114.1 Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

115.1 Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

165.4 When in the Night I Meditate

201.2 Praise Is Your Right, O God, in Zion

209.3 My Song Forever Shall Record

236 Now Israel May Say

249 O Lord, Make Haste to Hear My Cry

259.1 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

286.2 Give to the Winds Thy Fears

303.1 Jesus, Lover of My Soul

308.3 O Sing a Song of Bethlehem

361.3 How Firm a Foundation

601.5 Song of Zechariah (Benedictus)

 

PRAYER: GOD HEARS

112.3 Christ the Lord Is Risen Again

144.3 Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!

(150.2) Come, Christians, Join to Sing

160 Psalm 4

169.2 In the Day of Need

187.5 Psalm 34.9-22

201.1 Praise Is Your Right, O God, in Zion

212.4 Within Your Shelter, Loving God

247.2 I Will Give Thanks with My Whole Heart

251.3 Your Faithfulness, O Lord, Is Sure

(286) Give to the Winds Thy Fears

295.3 O God of Love, O God of Peace

333.2 Seek Ye First

362 I Love the Lord, Who Heard My Cry

403 What a Friend We Have in Jesus

(416.2) Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

(417.2) Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation

438.2 Blest Be the Tie That Binds

446.3 Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken

489 Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty

 

PRAYER: THAT GOD HEAR!

168 Lord, Why Have You Forsaken Me

178 Lord, to You My Soul Is Lifted

189 As Deer Long for the Streams

190 Psalm 42

249 O Lord, Make Haste to Hear My Cry

326.3 Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

442.3 The Church’s One Foundation

 

SEEKING GOD/CHRIST

79 Kind Maker of the World

177.3 Psalm 24 (Lift Up the Gates Eternal)

189 As Deer Long for the Streams

190 Psalm 42

198 O God, You Are My God

199 O Lord, You Are My God

207 How Lovely, Lord

208 Psalm 84

228 O Thou, My Soul, Return in Peace

231.19 Psalm 118.14-24

232.19 Psalm 118.19-29

235 With Joy I Heard My Friends Exclaim

242 Come, All You Servants of the Lord

326.2 Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

329 Break Thou the Bread of Life

365 Jesus, Priceless Treasure

489 Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty

510 Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts

511 Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts

 

 

Liturgical Resources

 

Prayer: Out of the Depths #2/”De Profundis” (Psalm 130)

https://www.catholicdoors.com/prayers/english/p05551b.htm

Unfolding of Psalm 69 with expanded prayers offered for each verse to illustrate what it would look like to make the kind of heartfelt humble prayer to God that the psalmist does; oriented toward sin and the cross.   http://sincerespiritualmilk.blogspot.com/2013/01/psalm-69-heartfelt-humble-prayer-to-god.html

 

Opening Prayer (from Matthew 7:7-11, Living Translation) By Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting

O God, even we know how to give good gifts to children.                                                        But you know how to give good gifts even more than we do.

O God, keep us asking. Keep us seeking.  Keep us knocking.                                                        As your children we pray, Amen.

CALL TO WORSHIP & PRAYER (from Ps.69, New International Version) By Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using/adapting

[One] In the time of your favor, in your great love,

[Many] O God, answer us.

Respond to us with your sure salvation. Rescue us.

O God, answer us.

Do not let the floodwaters engulf us. Do not let the depths swallow us up.

O God, answer us.

Keep the pit from closing its mouth over us. Out of the goodness of your love,

O God, answer us.

Turn to us in your great mercy.

O God, answer us.

ALL: TRUSTING IN YOUR GREAT MERCY WE PRAY—                                  

AND WE WORSHIP. AMEN.

 

Confession of Sin  By Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using or adapting.

*Call to Confession:  God knows every sin that we have committed,                                           yet God loves and calls us still.  Let us turn to God in answer to that call.

*Prayer of Confession:

God, turn my attention to our relationship,

to your relationship with me and my relationship with you.

When I care more about what people say than about serving you, forgive me.

When I am reluctant to express my faith, forgive me.

When I am not as committed to you as I could be, forgive me.

When I do not sorrow for what hurts you in my life and in the world, forgive me.

When I am impatient with you, with others, and with myself, forgive me.

Renew my understanding of your love and my passion to serve you.

(Silent confession)

*Assurance of Pardon (Psalm 69:2, New Living Translation)

God answers our prayers because God’s unfailing love is wonderful. God takes care of us because God’s mercy is so plentiful. Thanks be to God for this Good News:

In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication By Barb Hedges-Goettl; please give credit if using or adapting.

O God, we dedicate to you all that we do, all that we give, and all that we are. Kindle in us love for you, that we may serve your Kingdom. Amen.

Children’s sermon:

Use the song “I’m being swallowed by a boa constrictor” to talk about how the psalmist feels and what s/he does about it.

See https://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/i114.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd0cX1dogtk

 

Exegetical Resources

General

Sermon on Psalm 130, which has similar themes of crying to God out of the depths https://www.cross-point.org/content.cfm?page_content=downloads_include.cfm&download_id=270

Exegetical walk through the entire Psalm in chunks:   https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1140-psalm-69-a-plea-for-gods-deliverance

Blog with scholarly and personal reflections on theme of deliverance by an older layman: http://2twokens.blogspot.com/2012/04/diliverance-psalm-691-18.html

Seeking the Hidden God

When You Can’t Stop Crying Out to God: Psalm 69:13 comes alongside Luke 18:1-8 in the example of repeated requests. We often ask for help, hoping and believing that God will answer his children with good gifts. https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/when-you-cant-stop-crying-out-god

Commentary on Ps. 69:7-10, –[11-15], 16-18 from the RCL by Working Preacher; takes up theme of Hide-n-Seek.

http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2023

This one may be a bit further afield, but came up under “Hidden God” and looked interesting: Fear of Death, Harry Potter, and the Hidden God; Audio of a parishioner at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Indiana sharing a sermon exploring what many philosophers have argued is our most primal fear – the fear of death. Pointing to the Christ-allegory in the popular Harry Potter series, Andy goes on to posit reasons for the hidden nature of God as it relates to love, sacrifice, and faith, and death. Listen to this beautiful and profound sermon, and be encouraged! http://standrewsgreencastle.org/fear-death-harry-potter-hidden-god/

Chasing the Hidden God: All the Light We Cannot See (sign up/in/on for free access to whole article): https://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2015/august-19/chasing-hidden-god.html

 

Lament

See discussion of lament in the context of Psalm 69 in earlier blog by Katy Stenta:   https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/many-waters-love-lament-psalm-69/

Katy’s blog refers to Many Waters and other works of Madeleine L’Engle; she is an author that insists that God is big enough to handle our anger and/or our doubt. For a slice of that viewpoint and references to which of her books address these themes, see “A Conversation with Madeleine L’Engle” at http://www.leaderu.com/marshill/mhr04/lengle1.html

15 page article by liturgical scholar John Witvleit on the role of lament in worship:

https://issuu.com/pmajorins/docs/reflections_on_lament_in_christian_

Brueggemann on “The Friday Voice of Faith: a serious theology of the cross requires a serious practice of the lament psalms”—why lament psalms don’t get used in worship and why that should change. https://www.reformedworship.org/article/december-1993/friday-voice-faith-serious-theology-cross-requires-serious-practice-lament-psa

ARTWORK: Psalm 69 bulletin cover   https://www.flickr.com/photos/traqair57/3513945347/in/album-72157603288751629/

Many Waters, #love, #lament Psalm 69

Recently the curator of the achurchforstarvingartists spoke at our Presbytery Retreat, to discuss counter-intuitive thinking for ministry.

Last Week the Psalms of Praise lead to thinking about the position of kneeling/servanthood as how we will ultimately be kneeling to Christ in order to be next to him, for that is obviously the position he will be taking in the 2nd coming (as opposed to a more victorious, glory-to-God-fear-inducing or otherwise judgy-type-stance)

So it makes an odd kind of sense, to me at least, that this week’s Psalm of Lament would induce and encourage the opposite position, the one of standing up and shouting.

Psalm 69 and Matthew 7 both encourage bringing our troubles to God. Not skulking or hiding them, not muttering them under our breath, but full out yelling. Standing up and crying out to God, Saying the words Hosanna! Save us! Save me! ” Save me, O God,
   for the waters have come up to my neck.” “I have come into deep waters,
   and the flood sweeps over me.”

Lament is a unique feeling it is somewhere between mourning and anger.

It is the energy of loss.

Lament is important, because when we do not name loss it consumes us. Madeline L’engle describes it in her book The Wrinkle in Time as being Xed. The nothingness, the loss of love and feeling of powerlessness starts to erase personhood. It makes your feelings look like *just nothing.*

Quotation-Madeleine-L-Engle-people-Meetville-Quotes-185385

If you’ve ever had a conversation with a loved one who makes a claim about what is bothering them, and you state that its *nothing* you might have opened a can of worms, because that *nothing* value you assign to the problem might make the person feel like their problem is *nothing* because they are *nothing.* This is a dangerous write off of others’ experiences and feelings, furthering the Xing process.

Lament can be different from just anger or mourning, because it is the energy behind naming and crying out for that which is a part of being human–for love, for laughter, for companionship, for safety and stability and beauty.

“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
   At an acceptable time, O God,
   in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.”

For the right to make mistakes and to seek forgiveness, for the right to call out the heirachical and bigotted structures that make one feel unsafe, from the fact that women are interupted for speaking during CEO meetings (and men aren’t), to the fact that young African-Americans are seen as more suspicious than young Caucasians, its the facts that Transsexual people cannot feel safe in either men nor women’s bathrooms, its the fact that sexual abuse is insufficiently prevented and addressed, its in the fact that some children go to bed hungry at night, the fact that some people have daily painful realities to deal with in violence or addiction or physical ailments or mental illness. It is the fact that life is not fair, and who has not lamented that one true fact?

God does not want us to paste our smiles on and live our life ignoring its problems. God acknowledges there is real and harmful evil in the world, real difficulties that are a part of everyday life and that fact means that lament is a necessary part of our existence.

Lament is the deep mourning for those things that the soul needs to survive and thrive. It is for that reason that standing up and naming what is going out, and calling on God for it, can be a creative and healing act.

Whenever there is anger in a system, be it a church or a school or the government, that means there is energy, and when named and processed that energy can be used for change. Love

Lament is a just form of prayer, and one which the church too often forgets or glosses over, but God invites you to pray, reminding us that when our children ask for bread, we do not give them snakes. We give them bread (or even sometimes cupcakes) How much more will God Give us.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7


Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.

P.S. Might I recommend Madeline L’engle’s less known books “Many Waters” (about Noah and the twins) and “An Acceptable Time” (about time travel and the role of evil) ….as you guess the names are from scripture 🙂

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