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  • Writer's picturePastor Elaine

July 16th, 2023 “Preaching on a Psalm“

May the words of my lips & the meditations of our hearts always be pleasing to you O God.

I normally start my mornings by scanning the news and being Canadian checking the weather forecast! I am thinking about changing that habit. Most of the news is scary or sad and maybe that is not the best way to start the day! As for the weather - well I can check that at any time!

I am thinking that starting the day with a Psalm might be a better way to begin my day.

As I prepare my sermons I read commentaries on the readings for the day. Today I would like to preach on our Psalm - Psalm 65 verses 1 -13. Its not a long reading but it is a song of praise and joy and thanksgiving for the abundance that comes from God.

As I began to prepare this sermon I read commentaries from Working Preacher and Feasting on the Word. In Feasting on the word there are always 4 commentaries for each reading under the headings: theological, pastoral, homiletical and exegetical.

This is what I read in the pastoral section.

“Whenever I wonder if God understands the human struggle I read a psalm. The description of the human condition in the psalms is astonishingly honest and accurate. Whenever I wonder what God is doing in the world or even if God is active in the world I read a psalm. Whenever I wonder how God is active in the world I read a psalm. Whenever I wonder why I should be grateful I read a psalm.”

This sounded like good advice.

Psalm 65 talks of a world alive with the bounty and glory of God. It shouts about the abundance of God and the joy found in the world. People are at peace and praising God, a vision counter to what we often see in the world.

According to the psalmist, God provides so that all of creation has what it needs to continue. God waters the earth, softens it with rains and provides grain for the people. This is a psalm of gratitude to God for creation. God’s creation is full of bounty.

The theological claim of this psalm is single and enormous. It is God’s unprompted generosity and power that has caused creation to be and that continues to bring forth fruit. This is creation theology at its best.

Nature sets an example for humanity. How are we doing following that example trumpeted by this psalm?

Maybe not so well. Climate change, climate anxiety, melting ice caps, poisoned water and soil, the disappearance of forests and the extinction of species, rising sea levels, drought, catastrophic weather events, forest fires, floods, storms & rising temperatures make the news and the weather channel on a daily basis.

Amid all of this there are still people who deny that the climate is changing and that humans are at risk.

The psalm we might write might be very different from what we read today. Our psalm for today is to inspire us. To bring us like the meadows and the valleys to shout and sing and to pause and wonder. And to praise our creator.

Psalm 65 shows us a God of abundance. There are no shortages with God. This stands in direct opposition to the world we live in - one that is largely economically driven where the resources are limited. Perhaps without even realizing it, scarcity becomes the lens through which we see everything. Everything - even in the Church.

Maybe it is a good idea to turn to our psalms on a regular basis. Turn to the psalms when you need to lament, when you struggle to feel the presence of God in your life. Turn to the psalms when you are discouraged by what you see and hear. Turn to the psalms when you need to feel joy. Turn to the psalms when you feel the need to sing songs of praise and shout with thanksgiving. The words are there for us.

Creation sings before we do. It is time to join the song. To be grateful for the bounty we may not see. Psalm 65 invites us to be renewed and overwhelmed by the limitless grace of God. To see the abundant beauty of our earth. To recognize the abundance of God.

The river of God is full of water…AMEN


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