Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection Year C, Seventh Sunday of Easter, Psalm

Psalm 68
Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; * let those who hate him flee before him.

Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; * as the wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; * let them also be merry and joyful.

Sing to God, sing praises to his Name; exalt him who rides upon the heavens; * YAHWEH is his Name, rejoice before him!

Father of orphans, defender of widows, * God in his holy habitation!

God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners into freedom; * but the rebels shall live in dry places.

O God, when you went forth before your people, * when you marched through the wilderness,

The earth shook, and the skies poured down rain, at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, * at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; * you refreshed the land when it was weary.

Your people found their home in it; * in your goodness, O God, you have made provision for the poor.

The Lord gave the word; * great was the company of women who bore the tidings:

"Kings with their armies are fleeing away; * the women at home are dividing the spoils."

Though you lingered among the sheepfolds, * you shall be like a dove whose wings are covered with silver, whose feathers are like green gold.

When the Almighty scattered kings, * it was like snow falling in Zalmon.

O mighty mountain, O hill of Bashan! * O rugged mountain, O hill of Bashan!

Why do you look with envy, O rugged mountain, at the hill which God chose for his resting place? * truly, the LORD will dwell there for ever.

The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of thousands; * the Lord comes in holiness from Sinai.

You have gone up on high and led captivity captive; you have received gifts even from your enemies, * that the LORD God might dwell among them.

Blessed be the Lord day by day, * the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.

He is our God, the God of our salvation; * God is the LORD, by whom we escape death.

Reflection on Psalm 68 by John G. Gibbs, PhD

Even though the Oxford Annotated NRSV comments that this is the most difficult of all psalms to interpret, the message of God's persistent care for God's people comes through in poetic clarity. "Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God gives the desolate a home to live in." (68:5-6a). God brought needed rain, restored God's heritage when it languished, God's power makes even kings of armies flee, and God's lofty dwelling place drives high "many-peaked" mountains to envy.

"Blessed be the Lord who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. ... to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death." Those who see on the horizon dark clouds of ecological catastrophe can only count upon, and live toward, this God of salvation.

To Reflections on the other readings for this day:
First Lesson 1 Samuel 12:19-24 or Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 68 or 47
this page
New Testament Acts 16:16-34 or Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20
Gospel John 17: 20-26

John Gibbs, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 2001. John 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 Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

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