Sermon Commentary for Sunday, December 29, 2019

Psalm 148 Commentary

The time between Christmas and Epiphany is one of those flex times in the Revised Common Lectionary—sometimes there are two Sundays after Christmas and before January 6 and sometimes just one in case Epiphany falls exactly on the second Sunday after Christmas.  So sometimes Psalm 148 is in the Lectionary mix and sometimes it isn’t.   This year we have 2 full Sundays, with Epiphany proper falling on a Monday.  Hence this year’s Lectionary for the First Sunday after Christmas features Psalm 148.   But since the Year C Lectionary had assigned Psalm 148 just last Spring, I will simply link over to that sermon commentary and the ideas on “The Ecology of Praise” that I wrote a few months back.

I suppose one thing I could add at this point is that since in 2019 this is the final Sunday of the calendar year, perhaps it is fitting to conclude with a psalm that resembles a well-shook bottle of champagne: when the cork flies off this poem, there is some serious praising going on in an effervescent explosion that involves nothing short of the whole creation!

Also, since this is paired in the RCL with the grim Gospel story of the Slaughter of the Innocents in Matthew 2, perhaps this exuberant psalm might be an alternative preaching text that some of us pastors will choose!  On the one hand and as pointed out in this week’s Gospel sermon commentary, there is a grim realism to the Matthew 2 story—the horror reported there is why God’s Son had to come to save this planet.   At the same time, perhaps it’s good to remind ourselves that in the end this will all result in exactly the glorious praises of all God’s creatures that we see depicted in Psalm 148!


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