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Psalm 22:23-31

Lent 2B

Considering that a portion of Psalm 22 is assigned to the Second Sunday in Lent, it seems odd that the Revised Common Lectionary would select for us not the first two-thirds of the psalm that is a whopping lament but instead the sunny-side-up concluding verses.  Psalm 22 almost seems like it’s two separate poems.  We…

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Psalm 25:1-10

Lent 1B

If the Lectionary decided for whatever the reason to not recommend all of Psalm 25, they could have at least extended this to verse 11.  Since this is the reading for the First Sunday in Lent, you’d think the one verse of this psalm that is a straight up confession of sin would make the…

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Psalm 50:1-6

Epiphany 6B

It is not difficult to see why the Lectionary has us go to Psalm 50 on Transfiguration Sunday in Year B.  There is much here about glory and shining and the splendor—very nearly we could term it the terrible splendor—that surround Israel’s God.  We are only being asked to look at the first six verses…

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Psalm 147:1-11, 20c

Epiphany 5B

A pastor friend of mine who is very dapper and proper in all things, including his attire, once observed another pastor show up for a summertime seminar dinner wearing a pair of shorts.  My friend saw this and I noticed the muscles in his jaw tighten slightly before he wryly said, “I believe it is…

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Psalm 111

Epiphany 4B

You have to like the fact that a psalm that claims God has worked to make sure his deeds are remembered is itself written as an acrostic in the original Hebrew precisely as an aid to memorizing the psalm!  Beginning each of the 22 lines of this poem with successive letters in the Hebrew alphabet…

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Psalm 62:5-12

Epiphany 3B

As usual when we encounter this phenomenon in the Revised Common Lectionary, it is unclear why this lection sheers off the first 4 verses.  Certainly one can preach on Psalm 62 starting with verse 5 and the psalm is not particularly diminished.  But why not let a sermon on this encompass the whole thing? In…

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Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Epiphany 2B

It may be somewhat understandable that the Lectionary would have us stop short of this psalm’s sudden shift in tone starting in verse 19.  A poem that had been 100% a lyric reflection on the abiding presence of God somehow briefly morphs into a full-throated imprecation against the wicked.  This seems to come up like…

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Psalm 29

Epiphany 1B

Last summer a tornado ripped through our area.  It did not come very close to where I live but for those in and near its path, it was frightening.  Whole homes were destroyed and in some places so many trees came down, you could not recognize whole neighborhoods.  A man with whom I chatted this…

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Psalm 148

Christmas 1B

No moment on the annual calendar gets more associated with popping champagne corks than New Year’s Eve.  So it is appropriate that on this last Sunday and day of 2023 the Lectionary directs us to Psalm 148, which is in its own way a fizzing and frothing bottle of champagne in word form.  It is…

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Psalm 126

Advent 3B

Whenever I read Psalm 126, the phrase “delirious with joy” leaps to mind.  What emerges in the opening verses here is a portrait of people whose wildest dreams somehow came true and they discover that they just cannot stop giggling over it and grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat over and over and anon.  Weeping…

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