Psalm 89, 20 Dec 20

Psalm 89 is quite long at over fifty verses. So it ranges across several themes, beginning with a song of praise:

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
    with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
    your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

The Lectionary reading for this week (1-4, 19-26) then includes a section, sometimes introduced as ‘Voice 2’, in which God is seen as establishing a royal line of rulers. Such rulers, including David of course, will draw authority and ultimately salvation from divine power.

This selection — and indeed all sections read in the three times this psalms arises in Years A and B — skips an important statement in verse 14, one which led to the subtitle for the main page for Psalm 89, ‘Foundational justice’:

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

In later sections, ‘Voice 3’, joy gives way to a sense of the absence of that divine presence. However, the psalmist here and there through this tale drops in hints of trust and intent to hold fast to the covenant.


[Note: At South Woden UC this Sunday, a carols and readings service. No sung psalm.]

For those groups using Together in Song, the Australian hymn book, No 46 by ‘safe hands’ Christopher Willcock is a good choice, especially during social distancing when some will have their own copies of this hymn book. As usual, the verses offered here may not coincide with the RCL readings.

Simplified beginning of the verses in Christopher Willcock’s setting in TiS 46. His refrain, not a direct quote from this psalm, starts: “My peace be upon you forever…”

Psalms for All Seasons also has a nice, and somewhat simpler, setting by Marty Haugen at 89B.

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