Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC)

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Lectionary Reflection Year C, Easter 3, Psalm Year C, Proper 14, Psalm

Psalm 33:
Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous;
it is good for the just to sing praises.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
play to him upon the psaltery and lyre.
Sing for him a new song;
sound a fanfare with all your skilf upon the trumpet.
For the word of the LORD is right,
and all his works are sure.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the loving-kindness of the LORD fills the whole earth.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
by the breath of his mouth all the heavenly hosts.
He gathered the waters of the ocean as in a water-skin
and stores up the depths of the sea.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all who dwell in the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke, and it came to pass;
he commanded, and it stood fast.
The LORD brings the will of the nations to naught;
he thwarts the designs of the peoples.
But the LORD's will stands fast for ever,
and the designs of his heart from age to age.
Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD!
happy the people he has chosen to be his own!
The LORD looks down from heaven,
and beholds all the people in the world;
From where he sits enthroned he turns his gaze
on all who dwell on the earth,
He fashions all the hearts of them
and understands all their deeds.
There is no king that can be saved by a mighty army;
a strong man is not delivered by his great strength.
The horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
for all its great strength it cannot save.
Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon those who fear him,
on those who wait upon his love,
To pluck their lives from death,
and to feed them in time of famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and shield.
Indeed, our heart rejoices in him,
for in his holy name we put our trust.
Let your loving-kindness, O LORD, be upon us, as we have put our trust in you.

Reflection on Psalm 33: by John Gibbs, PhD

The NRSV Annotated Bible aptly titles this psalm "Hymn to God as creator and lord of history." "The word of the Lord" (33:4-9) brings to mind the first creation story in Genesis 1. The character of the creative Word is described in vv. 4-5: it is upright and works in faithfulness. The Lord loves righteousness and justice, so much so that all "the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord." The great Swiss theologian Karl Barth used to emphasize that God is not merely all-powerful (Allmchtige), but also and more basically all-gracious (All-gndige). That being the case, there is intimate connection between covenant and creation, for the "hesed" of Yahweh ("steadfast love") brought into existence both creation and covenant. What God does in his all-graciousness knows no boundaries, for the whole earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. It is of utmost importance in this post-Holocaust era that the Church celebrate with all Judaism the centrality of God's steadfast love within the cosmic totality. Not only are humans bound together thereby with all other living creatures, but so also are Jews and Christians. The One God is both creator and lord of history.

Copyright Statement

John Gibbs, PhD, is a retired theologian, who attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 2000. He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Episcopal Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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