20 June 2022

Praying with the Psalms in Ordinary Time:
20 June 2022 (Psalm 117)

‘Praise the Lord, all you nations!’ (Psalm 117: 1) … flags of the nations at a shop in Kalambaka near Meteora in central Greece (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

In the Calendar of the Church, we are in Ordinary Time. Before today begins, I am taking some time this morning to continue my reflections drawing on the Psalms.

In my blog, I am reflecting each morning in this Prayer Diary in these ways:

1, Short reflections on a psalm or psalms;

2, reading the psalm or psalms;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Psalm 117:

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm and also the shortest chapter in the Bible. In the slightly different numbering system in the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, this is counted as Psalm 116. It is often known by the Latin name it takes from its opening words, Laudate Dominum.

Psalm 117 is the fifth of the six psalms (Psalms 113-118) comprising the Hallel (הַלֵּל, ‘Praise’). Psalms 113-118 are among the earliest prayers written to be recited in the Temple on days of national celebration. They were sung as accompaniment to the Pesach or Passover sacrifice. Early rabbinic sources suggest that these psalms were said on the pilgrimage festivals – Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

These psalms are known as the ‘Egyptian Hallel’ because of the references in Psalm 114 to the Exodus from Egypt.

Psalm 117 consists of only two verses, and it is the shortest psalm and also the shortest chapter in the Bible. In Hebrew, it is an acrostic poem.

In Psalm 117, the Psalmist speaks of the universal significance of Israel’s history. It is not Israel alone, but all the nations who will see in the story of the people, something beyond history.

The Gentiles, all nations and peoples, are invited to join in praise of God. God’s love is steadfast and endures for ever.

‘The faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever’ (Psalm 117: 2) … birds of the air at sunset at Malahide Castle, Co Dublin (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Psalm 117 (NRSVA):

1 Praise the Lord, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!
2 For great is his steadfast love towards us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Praise the Lord!

Today’s Prayer:

The theme this week in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is the Swarupantor programme in the Church of Bangladesh. This theme was introduced yesterday.

Monday 20 June 2022:

The USPG Prayer invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us pray for those running the Swarapuntor programme. May more communities in Bangladesh become self-sufficient and economically empowered.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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